The first volume in Joe Hill's horror series from IDW Publishing, Locke & Key:Welcome to Lovecraft, sets up a nice storyline and some very intere...moreThe first volume in Joe Hill's horror series from IDW Publishing, Locke & Key:Welcome to Lovecraft, sets up a nice storyline and some very interesting story concepts for future installments. The basic premise follows the Locke family, who has moved to the west coast trying to start a new life after the family has been attacked and the father, Renny Locke, is killed by some local high school students. The home that they move to in Lovecraft, Massachusetts, called Keyhouse, is a mansion with numerous doors and keys, and depending on which key you use, these doors open onto different realities or can change a person (in one case, into a ghost or in another, using the key will change your sex if you walk through a door). The house has apparently been in the family for decades, and Renny Locke's brother is the current resident of the house.
There is a ghost who lives in the well house who is unable to escape from the well house without the aid of the Anywhere Key, a key able to open any of the doors in Keyhouse to anywhere else the user wants to go. The well house ghost uses numerous means to escape, manipulating both the psychopathic high school student who murdered Renny Locke, and the youngest Locke child, Bode, to try to locate the Anywhere Key. Whether or not this ghost is benevolent is uncertain by the end of the story.
Joe Hill's writing is just creepy enough to give the story a real edge while at the same time not making it seem too far-fetched. Gabriel Rodriguez's art really captures the essence of the story.
I'm intrigued by how future volumes will play out, and I guess that's the important part; that the story has kept my attention enough to want to read more.(less)
Alexis Austin is taking care of the tenants of the Hotel Angeline in her mother's absence, an absence that Alexis doesn't want anybody to figure out j...moreAlexis Austin is taking care of the tenants of the Hotel Angeline in her mother's absence, an absence that Alexis doesn't want anybody to figure out just quite yet. The tenants of the Hotel are a great big mixed eclectic bag of eccentrics who rely maybe a little too heavily on Alexis (and before her, her mother) but who make up the only family that Alexis has ever known. Alexis is too young to have all this responsibility (she's only a teenager, after all), but to her, the alternative is grim to say the least. There's a reason that Alexis doesn't want people to find out where her mother is. However, when Alexis finds out that her uncle may be trying to purchase the Angeline out from under her and the tenants and that he needs to speak to her mother, Alexis finds her life quickly unraveling at the seams and it takes a series of slightly implausible events and the love of her "adopted" family at the Hotel for her to be able to make her life livable again.
OK, so this book took me forever to read. Through most of the book, I had a hard time finding it kept my attention for more than a chapter at a time, and that was being generous. I think part of that had to do with the same fact that held me to reading it; the book is written by a total of 36 authors from the Seattle area. The book was written during an event called The Novel, Live!, where 36 authors, over the span of 6 days, wrote a novel, each taking a chapter at a time. The whole idea was broadcast over the internet and was a fundraiser to help fight illiteracy. The idea was very cool, and the novel, while feeling rather disjointed throughout, is still an impressive feat. The authors had a basic plot to follow, and each was allowed to read what the previous author had written, and then they knew where their chapter was supposed to take them, but other than that, each author had free reign to more or less write whatever they wanted. I think this is what made the novel so long for me to read. There was the definite plot running through the whole thing, but sometimes the chapters didn't quite seem to line up with each other, as each author's distinct writing flavor took over at each new chapter. I will admit, however, that by the end of the story, I was surprised to find myself attached to Alexis and the tenants of the Hotel Angeline and was concerned and happy for their outcomes.
I'm impressed with the whole thing, and if they ever do another one of these I'll definitely read it, but I'm hoping that the next would maybe have a little more tighter editing, maybe? I don't know, just something to make it all seem a little more cohesive as a whole.
Recommended if you enjoy something along the line of experimental writing.(less)
Sigh. I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Honest, I did! The Invention of Hugo Cabret was one of my favorite reads the year it was rele...moreSigh. I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Honest, I did! The Invention of Hugo Cabret was one of my favorite reads the year it was released, so when I heard Brian Selznick was releasing a new book in the same fashion, I was thrilled. When a friend offered to let me borrow her ARC, I was even more excited! I settled in for what I was hoping was going to be as just a magical and heartfelt story as Hugo Cabret, but I was left wanting at the end.
The story follows Rose, whose story is set 50 years in the past and told in pictures, and Ben, whose present day story is told in prose. They are both looking for something more in their lives, and as the tale jumps back and forth from Rose's story to Ben's, we are led on an "adventure" that eventually brings the two together in Ben's present day. I won't really give anything away, but needless to say, I had already figured out the connection between Rose and Ben long before it is revealed in the story, and found the coincidences that occurred to Ben far too convenient for my taste. In fact, I was really more vested in Rose's story than Ben's, because I felt everything that happened to Ben was far too unrealistic and forced to feel like the story was developing naturally. Everything that happened to Ben needed to happen in order for the story to progress. If his story didn't move, neither did any of the book. Unfortunately, this forced feeling in Ben's story just left me feeling a little cold to the story.
Rose's portion of the story is beautifuuly told, however. Selznick utilizes the same storyboard techniques he used in Hugo Cabret to make it feel like we are actually watching a silent movie about Rose and her story. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire drawn portion of the book and really wish that I had felt as strongly about the prose portions.
I never like writing reviews like this, especially over a book that has had so much work put into it. I can't imagine how long it took Brian Selznick to draw all the illustrations that went into Wonderstruck. Each one is a work of art unto itself. I just couldn't quite get into the rhythm of this story as much as I did The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Will this stop me from picking up future books from Brian Selznick? Absolutely not. The man is a genius with this storytelling technique. Wonderstruck just didn't quite strike me with as much wonder as I was hoping it was going to.(less)
I've loved Dr. Seuss since I was a child. I'm sure at one point or another, I've read every Seuss book available (and own most of them), so when I hea...moreI've loved Dr. Seuss since I was a child. I'm sure at one point or another, I've read every Seuss book available (and own most of them), so when I heard that there was going to be a "new" collection of stories published, both me and my inner child squealed in delight! The stories are taken from magazines that were published between the mid 1940s to late 1950s, and hadn't really been seen since these magazines had originally been published.
These stories are quite clearly from early on in Dr. Seuss' writing career. They carry his inherit flare and whit that is prominent in all his writing, but they don't quite carry the "lesson learned" aspect that he became known for. Not that these elements aren't in these stories (such as "The Bippolo Seed," which deals with the dangers of greed), but they are only there marginally. It seems to me that Dr. Seuss wrote these tales more for pleasure and fun than really trying to bestow any kind of wisdom to his young readers as he would in his later books.
If you're a fan of Dr. Seuss I'd highly recommend this book. The drawings have been reproduced in a color palette that wasn't available to magazine's of the time, but matches perfectly with the colors used in his published books. The foreword by renowned Seuss scholar, Charles Cohen (who tracked down each of the stories in the collection), is a fascinating look into the history around when each of the story's were written and helps show how Dr. Suess helped change how books were written for children. This is a real treat for any Seuss fan!(less)