Saturday, February 7, 2015

[BOOK REVIEW] Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Title:  Through the Woods

Author:  Emily Carroll

Genre:  Horror / Fairy Tales / Suspense / Anthology

Year Published:  2014

Year Read: 2/6/2015


Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry Books

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 14+ (Some Scary Situations)


Now, you know that whenever you read fairy tales and folktales that have a “dark and spooky” forest in the plot, you are in for some serious horror (as “Little Red Riding Hood” has shown and lo and behold, there is a story similar to “Little Red Riding Hood” in this graphic novel)!  Well, the new graphic novel “Through the Woods” by Emily Carroll will definitely show you the true meaning of horror when it comes to going through the dark and spooky woods!

What is this story about?

In this graphic novel, there are a collection of five stories, including the introduction and the conclusion that are full of terror as the main characters encounter various horrors as they ventured into the woods.  The five stories in this collection of horror stories are:

         1. Our Neighbor’s House
     2. Lady’s Hands are Cold
     3. His Face All Red
     4. My Friend Janna
     5. The Nesting Place

What I loved about this story:

Emily Carroll’s writing: Wow!  Now, I will admit that I had never read a graphic novel quite like this before, even though I had read many graphic novels that dealt with horror.  This graphic novel was a unique case as it combined fantasy with horror and the stories in this graphic novel were truly creative and haunting to read through!  Emily Carroll’s writing was truly beautiful and haunting at the same time and I loved how the writing was written in a poetic sense as it gave the stories an old time feel while building up suspense for each characters’ situations.  I also loved the fact that each story dealt with the main character discovering a terrible secret that often comes out of the woods and sometimes the characters could get out of those horrible situations while other times whatever horrible force comes out of the woods manages to get them no matter what and that brings a sense of scariness to the stories as we do not know what kind of force can come out of the woods at night.  Emily Carroll had written many fantastic passages in this graphic novel that really grasps the intensity and dreamy atmosphere of the stories, but one passage that I particularly liked was during the story “A Lady’s Hands are Cold” that regards the death of a mysterious woman in the story:

“I married my love in the springtime,
But by summer, he’d locked me away.
He murdered me dead by the autumn,
And by winter, I was naught but decay.
It’s cold where I am and so lonely,
But in loneliness I will remain,
Unloved, unavenged and forgotten,
Until I am whole once again.”

The artwork:  Emily Carroll’s artwork in this graphic novel was truly stellar as the artwork looks quite creepy and creative and they really bring in the scariness of the stories in this collection.  I loved the way that the woods always looked so scary and foreboding on every image as I truly get chills whenever I looked at the shadowed and twisted trees in the stories.

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

For anyone who does not like scary content dealing with supernatural horror elements, there are many scenes in this book where young children go wandering off into the forest by themselves and the fear that something bad will happen to them as the situations continue to rise up in each story.  Also, many of the stories seem to end on an anticlimactic note as the stories end a bit abruptly before any real resolution is really solved.  I probably would have preferred it if the graphic novel was a bit longer in their stories so that way the endings of each story would not seem so rushed.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Through the Woods” is a truly fantastic collection of scary stories that will surely be a treat to read during Halloween!

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