"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review: THROUGH THE WOODS by Emily Carroll (YA Graphic Novel)

by Emily Carroll
Release date: July 15th, 2014
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)
Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel - Fairytale
Format: Hardback, Paperback, eBook
Format read: Paperback I purchased.


A fantastically dark and timeless graphic debut, for fans of Grimm Tales, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and the works of Neil Gaiman 

'It came from the woods. Most strange things do.'

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there.


The most hauntingly beautiful book I have ever seen! The illustrations alone will creep into your brain and burrow in for nightmares to come. The writing and dialogue has a way of whispering right into your ear, giving chills and everlasting goosebumps. I don't think I will ever be able to convey into appropriate words how brilliant this graphic novel is. Emily Carroll has upped my fairytale expectations to a point that I will probably never be able to find another novel that will captivate like this.

First, I must gush over the book's cover and its illustrations; the cover effectively sets the tone to the stories and will draw you in whether or not you want to be. The woods are enchanting and inviting, just look at those dead white trees on the cover - they are raised and textured, and if you look closer, you can see claws branching out to grab at you. You will be captivated by each story; and you will probably skim through the whole book needing to see the stories before you can actually bring yourself to actually read them. That's the beauty of this graphic novel, you don't have to read it in order to feel the eeriness. The words, the dialogue, adds to the horror, suspense and thrill.

There are five short stories. But the one that spoke to me the most and will forever give me chills is the second one called A Lady's Hands are Cold... it reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe's short story, The Tell-Tale Heart.  A girl's father marries her off and is sent to go live in her groom's ornate home. Her handmaids dress her richly and she only sees her husband at dinner. Every night she goes to her room and hears an eerie voice, a woman's voice singing the saddest tune, throughout the house - the walls, the floors. After a few nights she is overcome by the woman's grief and goes to investigate where it is coming from... now, let your imagination run. It will not compare to what unfolds for this girl.

And then the ending, the 'conclusion' of the entire book, is a story on its own too. It is by far my favorite part of the book since it seems to be an obvious nod to Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. Yes, the entire book does have an influence from this fairytale as well, but here, here is where it all starts and ends, and it is truly brilliant!

All who love graphic novels, fairytales and/or horror chilling stories will truly appreciate everything about Through the Woods - the quality, the details, the storytelling - these stories will linger on your mind for years to come...  a picture book like no other.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Emily Carroll

"My name is Emily Carroll, and I was born in June of 1983. I grew up in London (Ontario) but moved to Vancouver for work after graduating Sheridan College's Classical Animation program. 
I have since moved back to Ontario, and now live in Stratford with my wife, Kate Craig. We have a very large cat.

My comics have appeared in several anthologies, such as The Anthology Project V2, Explorer: The Mystery Boxes, kus! #9, Little Heart, Creepy #9 (Dark Horse), Fairy Tale Comics (First Second), The Witching Hour (Vertigo), and others. 
My first book, Through the Woods, a collection of short horror stories, is being published by Margaret K. McElderry Book in July 2014, and be Faber and Faber in the UK. "

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