Through the WoodsFeatured
I don’t know what’s with me lately. Short stories aren’t really my thing, but I’ve been reading so many short story collections lately. This is the second one that I’m kind of in love with. Through the Woods first caught my eye, literally, when the cover was revealed. It’s one of my favorite covers of all time. Then I got a review request and fairy tale graphic novel equals immediate hell to the yes. My instincts were correct this time. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll is a delight for the senses and full of creepy tales for the mind.
You guys, this book is gorgeous. Just impossibly gorgeous. Like the cover, Through the Woods by Emily Carroll is illustrated primarily in red, white and black, with occasional pops of other colors. I’ve always had a great weakness for that particular color scheme. It’s so powerful. If you also drool over the cover art, you need this, because all of the illustrations are that beautiful. Serious art squee over here.
Through the Woods is rather spare, not dialog-driven most of the time. It’s haunting and quietly terrifying most of the time. Of course, this just makes the really gory horrifying scenes that much more terrifying in comparison. Carroll’s works are definitely comparable to original Grimm stories in tone and horror level, so if you enjoy those, you’ll like Carroll.
Some of the stories very obviously take origin in other tales, like “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold” which is a retelling of Bluebeard. What’s cool though is that, even with that one, Carroll puts a different spin on things. The endings aren’t usually what I’m quite expecting. They also tend to be a bit open-ended, leaving the reader pondering just what horrors will come next, which is almost worse than the ones that definitively transpired. The conclusion was the perfect ending to the collection, summing everything up brilliantly.
The Final Verdict:
At just 208 pages, Through the Woods goes by really quickly, so there’s basically no reason not to read it. Come for the artwork, the creepies or the fairy tales; stay because of how awesome all of that is.
I hadn't been privy to Emily prior to receiving this book form the publisher and shame on me for that! I flipped through the book to glance at the artwork and immediately fell in love with her talent. Her website allows you to view numerous pieces of her artwork and comics - I really loved The Prince and the Sea - and got me even more excited to read this collection.
Through the Woods contains a series of short comics that are all equally creepy and gorgeous. Her artwork is simply amazing and while the comics themselves don't take long to read, you will absolutely get lost taking in the details of each page. Her art is filled with blacks, reds, and grays that add to the spooky atmosphere.
Her dialogue is part of the artwork instead of the standard speech bubbles or blocks that are found in traditional graphic novels, which makes each page feel more like a work of art than a page from a graphic novel. Even the pages that contain mostly a black background with the characters in shades of gray are breathtaking to look at. The bonus of these pages is that she allows the reader to fill in darkness with their own imagination.
Some of these stores come across as nightmares. Like, Emily went around and plucked nightmares from random people and brought them to life through her talented artwork and story telling. Each story stands on its own, and some have endings that are open to a wide interpretation, but the last line of "In Conclusion" actually made me shiver: