Shelf Control #92: Locke & Key, volume 6: Alpha & Omega

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! Fore more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!


My Shelf Control pick this week is:

Title: Locke & Key, volume 6: Alpha & Omega
Author: Joe Hill
Published: 2014
Length: 192 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

The shadows have never been darker and the end has never been closer. Turn the key and open the last door; it’s time to say goodbye.

The final arc of New York Times bestselling Locke & Key comes to a thundrous and compelling conclusion.

An event not to be missed!

And about the series:

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…

How and when I got it:

I preordered this baby and got it on release day, January of 2014.

Why I want to read it:

This is so ridiculous. I read the first five volumes of the Locke & Key series as they were released — well, devoured them, really. And then some time went by, and then volume 6 was released, and I thought to myself that it would be a great idea to start the series again from the beginning so I could be totally in the moment and really savor the series finale. And of course, that never happened. It was a stupid vicious cycle — I was dying to read the conclusion, but wanted to reread the whole series, but didn’t have time to start again, but didn’t want to read #6 without starting again. On and on, until today! I’ve made finishing this series a New Year’s resolution a couple of times now. Maybe in 2018? For realzies this time.


Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!














Flashback Friday: Locke & Key

ffbutton2Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!

This week on Flashback Friday:

Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key, #1)

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
(published 2008)

 Synopsis (Goodreads):

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…

And from Publishers Weekly:

Novelist Hill, author of Heart-Shaped Box, crafts a gripping account of the shattered Locke family’s attempt to rebuild after the father/husband is murdered by a deranged high school student and the family subsequently moving in with the deceased father’s brother at the family homestead in Maine. But as anyone who has read horror fiction in the past 70-odd years will tell you, it’s a bad idea to try to leave behind the gruesome goings-on in your life by moving to an island named Lovecraft. What begins as a study in coping with grief soon veers into creepy territory as the youngest Locke discovers a doorway with decidedly spectral qualities, along with a well that houses someone or something that desperately wants out and will use any means available to gain freedom, including summoning the teenage murderer who set events in motion in the first place. To say more would give away many of the surprises the creative team provides, but this first of hopefully several volumes delivers on all counts, boasting a solid story bolstered by exceptional work from Chilean artist Rodriguez (Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show) that resembles a fusion of Rick Geary and Cully Hamner with just a dash of Frank Quitely.

The sixth and final volume of this amazing series was just published in February, and I hate to admit that I haven’t read it yet… but I have read volumes 1 – 5, and was simply blown away by the storytelling and the illustration. Not for the faint-of-heart, the Locke & Key series is disturbing, brutal, and awful, but also clever, wildly unpredictable, and tightly woven. Using the comics medium to tell a suspenseful horror tale, both the writer and illustrator are in complete control of their story. The story itself is un-put-down-able, and the artwork is intense, creative, mind-boggling, and sometimes almost too much to look at (and I mean that in the best way possible).

I’ve been holding off on reading #6 (Alpha & Omega) until I have time to re-read the first five volumes, since the impact is that much greater when read all in a row. But I really need to do it! Meanwhile, if you’re a horror fan looking for something new, check out the beginning of the Locke & Key series. Chances are, you won’t be able to stop with just one volume.

What flashback book is on your mind this week?

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday fun:

  • Grab the Flashback Friday button
  • Post your own Flashback Friday entry on your blog (and mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the host of the meme, if you please!)
  • Leave your link in the comments below
  • Check out other FF posts… and discover some terrific hidden gems to add to your TBR piles!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

My week in graphic novels

Last week, after finishing a couple of heftier and long-awaited novels, I made my own personal proclamation: It’s Graphic Novel Week!

Seven days and seven books later, here’s what I read and what I thought:

First up was Soulless: The Manga, Volume 2 by Gail Carriger (author) and Rem (artist). This manga version of Changeless, the 2nd book in the wonderful Parasol Protectorate series of novels, is a rather delightful affair, even for someone like me who doesn’t typically care for manga-style illustration. While I occasionally found the artwork a bit too cartoon-y, there are moments and scenes that are just wonderfully conveyed, including the Scottish settings, the steampunk gadgets and gewgaws, the fashion (and rather atrocious hats), and some of the interplay between main characters. I would never recommend the manga version as a sole introduction to Gail Carriger’s work, but for anyone who’s read and enjoyed the series, these manga volumes are a nice, amusing side dish.

Next was the continuing stories spun off from my beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. As anyone who was a fan knows, the TV series ended after seven seasons, but Buffy lives on! Under the auspices of creator Joss Whedon, Buffy’s story continued in comic form through season 8, which wrapped up in 2011, and in the newer (and ongoing) season 9. This past week, I had the pleasure of reading the 2nd volume in season 9, On Your Own, as well as the 2nd volume in the spin-off Angel & Faith series, Daddy Issues. Reading these comic series are like visiting with old friends. The gang (or most of the gang) is back! We get to hang out with Buffy, Willow, Spike, Xander, Dawn, and more. The series remains true to the characters as they existed in the TV series, but with a natural growth and progression through the ensuing action. While the season 8 plotline was a bit more convoluted than was truly necessary for good storytelling, the season 9 plot so far is engrossing, surprising, and yes, even touching. Meanwhile, I’m finding myself much more interested in the Angel and Faith spin-off than I thought I’d be, as the two team up to atone for past sins, right some wrongs, deal with visits from important figures from their pasts, and put some bad guys in their places. Both of these volumes were quick but engaging reads, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

After that, I moved on to the world of Fables by Bill Willingham. While the Fables series has been around since 2002, I was not introduced to Fables until earlier this year — at which point I fell madly in love and gobbled up the entire series as quickly as I could. Which left me completely bereft once I realized I was all caught up and had to simply sit and wait for the next volume to be released. (Side note: Fables, Volume 18: Cubs in Toyland is due out in January 2013!). Luckily for me, two new side projects were released in fairest-1November: Werewolves of the Heartland, a stand-alone volume centered on Bigby Wolf — only my very favorite character from the Fables ‘verse! — and volume one of a new ongoing series, Fairest, which focuses on some of the female Fables. Both of these, while enjoyable, were more or less filler for me. Werewolves of the Heartland follows Bigby on an adventure alluded to in the main Fables series, in which Bigby sets off in search of a new safe location for the Fables in exile. I won’t get into too much of the plot, but it’s nice to see Bigby in action again — although for the most part, it just left me hungry to return to the main series. (January, hurry up!) Fairest was fun, but I’ll have to see where the series goes as a whole. Volume 1 focuses on Briar Rose (aka Sleeping Beauty), Ali Baba, and the Ice Queen. Interesting and entertaining, but again, it mostly just whets my appetite for the main body of the series. Still, for a Fables fan, these are good choices for the in-between months.

wrinkle-graphicA Wrinkle In Time (or more accurately, according to the book jacket, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson) was my next choice. This was such an interesting reading experience. It’s been many years since I’ve read the original novel, yet it made such an indelible impression upon me that I approached the graphic novel with some misgivings, wondering how on earth it could succeed in capturing the essence of Madeleine L’Engle’s masterpiece. Fortunately, the graphic novel does a wonderful job of conveying the spirit of the novel, with simple but expressive illustrations that portray the characters’ emotions and struggles quite well. Meg in particular comes across in a manner so true to the novel — full of doubts and insecurities, driven by love for her family, confronting her anger and frustrations on a daily basis, and trying to become her own person while caring for those she loves. My only hesitation about this edition is that, in a way, it moves too fast. The journey to find Meg’s father and all the events surrounding it happen quickly, and I wonder whether a person reading the graphic novel without having read the original would get the same level of emotional impact. I enjoyed it a great deal, but it’s no replacement for the “real thing”.

Finally — and I’m still recovering from this one — I read the latest volume in the Locke & Key series by Joe Hill. Volume 5, Clockworks, continues right where the previous volume left off, with the Locke children in terrible danger and with no adults available or able to help. In volume 5, we get two very important pieces of Key House history — the origin of the keys in 1775, and the fateful events of 1988 involving the children’s father and his friends at the end of their senior year of high school. Both historical pieces are powerful and disturbing, and finally answer some questions that are essential to understanding the mystery and terror of the story. Locke & Key is scary, suspenseful, creepy, tragic, and un-put-down-able. This series just blows me away. Joe Hill is a master storyteller, and the illustrations are crisp, frightening, gory, and just generally wonderful. Highly, highly recommended.

And there you have it! Seven days, seven graphic novels, one very satisfied reader! Let’s do this again soon, shall we? Meanwhile, back to reading books without pictures… sigh.


The Monday agenda

Not a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

So what’s on the reading agenda this week?

From last week:

Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin: Done! My review is here.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: Quit after reading 150 pages. I just couldn’t get into it, despite having enjoyed the first book in the series.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Done! My review is here.

Beta by Rachel Cohn: Returning to the library unread. I was about to start this one, then discovered from the dust jacket that this book is first in a new series… and I’m trying to swear off new series for a while.

So far, no new books for my kiddo and me. We haven’t settled on our next read-aloud yet, and had a couple of false starts this week with books that neither of us ended up enjoying. Soldiering on! We still have a few more to try, and I’m hoping that one of the ones that I most want to read will also appeal to this opinionated 10-year-old.

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon: Done! The group re-read has finally come to an end. We’ll be starting the next in the series, The Fiery Cross, in January. And if you happen to be an Outlander fan and want to join the fun, just let me know and I’ll get you connected.

And this week’s new agenda:

I hereby declare: It’s Graphic Novel Week!

I’ve been accumulating a stack of graphic novels over the past few weeks, and I think I’ll dive in and devote my reading week to catching up. So exciting! On the list are:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 9 volume 2: On Your Own: If you thought Buffy’s story ended when the TV show went off the air, and you’ve been missing her ever since, check out the continuing story in graphic novel form.

Angel and Faith: Daddy Issues: Excellent Buffy spin-off.

Soulless manga, volume 2: The manga version of Changeless by Gail Carriger.

A Wrinkle In Time graphic novel: My Hanukkah gift from my daughter. See me gushing with joy about this here.

Fairest, volume 1: A new spin-off from Bill Willingham’s Fables series, which I love madly and deeply.

Werewolves of the Heartland: A Fables stand-alone, centered on my absolutely favorite character from the Fables world. Can’t wait!

Locke & Key: Clockworks: Volume 5 in the superbly creepy series by horror master Joe Hill.

Other than graphic novels, I plan — quite cautiously and with some trepidation — to add in Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman. Given the fact that I am just a terrible reader of short stories and find it impossible to maintain interest long enough to get through an entire book of stories, even if they’re by an author whom I love (as is the case here), I’m setting myself the rather mild goal of reading this collection of fairy tales bit by bit. I’ll aim for two stories a week — that should let me enjoy the stories without feeling my usual frustration at not reading a “real” novel.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

The Monday agenda

Not a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

Continuing with the Monday agenda concept started a few weeks ago, it’s time to see how well last week’s reading agenda worked out and sketch out the plan for the coming week.

From last week:

Going Bovine by Libba Bray: As of early last week, I’d gotten about 2/3 of the way through this bizarre, funny book about a boy with mad cow disease. And then I hit a wall. It’s not that the book stopped being interesting or engaging in any way; I just reached a point where I felt like moving on. Going Bovine is still in my huge messenger bag that I carry everywhere with me, and I haven’t officially given up or anything. It’s just become a “not right now” kind of situtation.

Gold by Chris Cleave. Finished last night a few breath’s shy of midnight (hence the dark circles under my eyes and the failure to watch the True Blood season finale). The review should be along shortly. The fact that I went from half-heartedly picking up the book on Friday to staying up reading way too late on a work-night should tell you something about how I felt about this book.

In graphic novels, I ended up going with the Locke & Key series by Joe Hill. My library had volumes 1 – 4 available, and I gobbled them up. Dark, creepy, compulsively readable, Locke & Key has me hooked. Here’s hoping the wizards at the public library decide to order volume 5 pronto.

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (group re-read): Two challenging, thought-provoking chapters. We’re really getting to the good stuff!

And this week’s new agenda:

Every Day by David Levithan: I’ve had this one on pre-order for a while, and it should arrive tomorrow. This was my Wishlist Wednesday book a couple of weeks ago; you can see why I want to read this one here.

Beyond that, for once I can’t say that I have absolute plans. I’ll try to get back into Going Bovine — would love to cross this one off my pending list already. Maybe a young adult novel from my to-read shelf: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer or Small Damages, perhaps. I have review copies of a few upcoming titles as well, so I should really start digging into some of those. (Thank you, Netgalley!)

In graphic novels, I have the Jack of Fables series ready to go, but seeing how I tend to start a series and then not come up for air until I’m done, I’d better try to get some other reading done first.

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (group re-read): Chapters 42 and 43 on deck for this week. Like I said, the good stuff! And by the way, if you’re a fan and want to jump into the conversation, please do! Let me know if you need directions to the online group — I’d be glad to point the way.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

The Monday agenda

Not a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

Continuing with the Monday agenda concept started a few weeks ago, it’s time to see how well last week’s reading agenda worked out and sketch out the plan for the coming week.

This week’s fresh catch. Thank you, O Great Public Library!

From last week:

Ashfall by Mike Mullin: Thoroughly enjoyed this young adult novel of disaster and survival (reviewed on this site on 8/15/2012).

1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham: Fantastic addition to the world of Fables. If you’re a fan of the series, this is a must-read.

Small Damages by Beth Kephart: Still haven’t gotten my copy, but expect it any day. This one moves back to my to-read list for now.

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (group re-read): Another couple of terrific chapter this week, with thought-provoking discussions, as always.

Non-agenda reading: Because there’s always room for change! Who needs to be confined by an agenda, when there’s a world of books out there? I also read Rape Girl by Alina Kline (reviewed 8/18/2012) and — for some light, fun diversion — Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories by Zack Whedon.

And this week’s new agenda:

Going Bovine by Libba Bray: I loved Beauty Queens by this author, and am finally getting around to reading this earlier young adult novel, winner of the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. I’ve read about a third of Going Bovine so far, and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Can a book about a boy with a fatal illness be funny? You see my dilemma.

I hit the motherlode at the library over the weekend, and now have some tough decisions to make. As far as I can tell, my next book will be:

Gold by Chris Cleave. The subject matter doesn’t really call to me, but I did love Little Bee, and I just found out that Chris Cleave will be speaking locally in October. Perhaps I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

In graphic novel world, I have a tough call to make: Start reading Joe Hill’s Locke & Key series, or stay in the world of Fables with the Jack of Fables series?

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (group re-read): Chapters 40 and 41 on deck for this week.

I’m sure I’ll also dig into a library book or two… in all of my non-existent spare time.

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.