locke and key volume 1-3

Book Quibbles: Locke & Key Vol. 1-3 Review

“No you can’t understand because you are reading the last chapter of something with out having read the first chapters. Young people always think they are coming into a story at the beginning when they are usually coming in at the end.”

If you’re unaware, the TV adaptation will be releasing on Netflix February 7, and it’s because of the trailer that I wanted to read the graphic novel first. The idea piqued my interest right away but after reading the first volume, I wanted to keep going.

Finding out it’s written by Joe Hill also helped.

Obviously, when I’m writing this the show isn’t out yet so I can’t do any comparisons.

Lock the Past Behind You

The Locke family moves to Lovecraft, Massachusetts after a horrific tragedy befalls their lives in the hopes of starting anew and locking the doors behind them.

There are a lot of literal lock and key puns.

locke and key


Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode Locke must find a way to live after their father’s death. They move into Keyhouse, where their dad grew up, and once there Bode is the first to find the keys to doors that open infinite possibilities.

But there is a creature living at Keyhouse who wants to escape a well it was put in many years ago and will do anything to find the keys to free itself and wreak havoc on the Locke family.

Key Reasons

locke and key


A Youtube comment called this “a mixture of The Chronicles of Narnia with The Haunting of Hill House” and although I would give it some of those comparisons, Locke & Key proves to be more brutal. It has the wonder of Narnia when finding a new key and the eeriness of a practically empty house of Hill House, but with more gore and death.

One of my favorite parts of the book is watching the kids grieve in different ways (that sounds bad) but it’s able to show different they are just by how they deal with death. Tyler, for example, blames himself and loses himself in work. Kinsey wants to blend in, not wanting others to stare at her, and Bode gets lost in the house, wanting to find more keys and talks to the creature in the well.


the verge

Even side characters get their time as we learn more about what happened at Keyhouse when their dad was a teenager as something horrible happened. By the end of the third volume, nothing is revealed but some didn’t make it.

Illustrations & Gore

locke and key


The illustrations are graphic and gory with so much detail. Each character has a distinct look and is easy to tell apart, so much to the point where I should point out if you have issues with seeing murder, blood, or graphic imagery then I would steer clear.

But I love the illustrations and the endless possibilities that come with every new key the kids find.


It’s more than the characters, who are likable in different ways, that kept me reading. The story itself is different and strong: the mystery behind the keys, if there’s a reason they’re there, and what happened in the past.

I didn’t want to reveal what any of the keys do. Personally, I like finding out at each page turn, but if you watched the trailer, then you’ll know how insane it can get, even creepy at times. I wouldn’t call the books “scary” but with the imagery, there can be an eeriness to it.

My one hope for the show is that it keeps the brutality. I think doing that will set it apart from the other shows/movies people are comparing it to (Narnia, Hill House, even The Umbrella Academy.)

My Rating



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5 thoughts on “Book Quibbles: Locke & Key Vol. 1-3 Review

  1. Emily | That Weird Girl Life🐱 (@emahlee13) says:

    Ooh these look like really cool graphic novels!! I remember watching the trailer for the series and thinking, “huh?” But honestly, your description of the books sounds way better than the trailer made it seem. And I, too, definitely got the whole “Chronicles of Narnia” and “Haunting of Hill House” vibe from it too. But I get what you mean about keeping the brutality. If they dial that down, it may take away from the scariness and the integrity of the books and change the feel of it too. Okay, I’m putting the first one on hold at my local library. Thank you for the recommendation! 🙂

    Emily | https://www.thatweirdgirllife.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • quibblesandscribbles says:

      Oh yay! I hoped someone would be interested because I didn’t expect to get into the story that much and read through the second and third volumes in one sitting. I think they deserve more attention.

      I hope you like it! Thanks for stopping by Emily x


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