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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on May 19, 2011
This is the 3rd graphic novel in the Locke and Key series. The 4th, Locke & Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom HC, comes out July of 2011. This was an excellent installment in this series; this story just keeps getting more and more interesting. I think this was my favorite one yet, which is really saying something since I have loved them all. I should also mention that the hardback version of this is just beautiful; even has a lovely ribbon to keep track of your place in the book.

As the Locke children's mother is incapacitated by grief and forced to deal with yet another loss, the Locke children are left to fend for themselves in a house where things are becoming increasingly strange. Dodge continues his search for the Black Door Key and summons an army of shadows to torment the Locke children. The Locke children are forced to fight for their lives against the shadows within.

This is just such an interesting, if profoundly creepy, series. Every installment introduces new mystery to the storyline and every installment introduces strange new keys that do fantastical things. I am so excited to see what each new key does, and so interested in how this battle between the living and the dead, between Dodge and the Locke children will play out.

This is definitely a novel for adults, some of the things in here are disturbing. The mother of the Locke children continues a rapidly increasing descent into misery and spends a lot of time drinking and being generally useless and tragic. The Locke kids struggle along as well as they can. It is interesting to see some of the affects from Locke & Key: Head Games and how they played out in this book.

I was thrilled by the fact that this installment cranks up the level of fantasy quite a bit. When Dodge uses the Key of Shadows and summons and epic army of shadows things get really awesome.

The artwork is incredibly beautiful and the shadow army lets the illustrators show off even more of their considerable talent. The story ended well enough, but I am still desparate to see what will happen next.

Overall just an outstanding addition to this series. These books just keep getting better and better; more and more engaging and interesting. I can't help but feel that this is all building up to something incredibly tragic and I am desparate to know what will happen next. This is one of the few graphic novels I will go out and buy new in hardback; they are definitely keepers. The hardbacks are very beautiful with a lot of attention to detail to the quality of the book; making this book something that is a pleasure to hold in your hands and read. I can absolutely not wait to read Locke & Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom HC!
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on February 6, 2014
I was going to space out each volume between other books, but I had to read this one right after finishing the second volume. This one has some incredibly emotional moments in it, and it really explores what can happen after someone suffers horrible events in their life. For the Locke mother, she is still suffering from her husband being murdered and herself being brutally raped, and finds what comfort she can in the bottom of a bottle. There aren't many other stories in any format that would go as far as the creators did in Crown of Shadows, but it just feels so real that it hurts all the more. I wished that the children could somehow have helped her more, but that situation would be so difficult, and even the perfect words and actions might not be able to help. In this volume, there's probably a little more action than in Head Games, especially towards the end which features an amazing fight with the Lady in the Well using living shadows to attack the Locke children and search for the Omega key. Part of the fight features multiple pages of absolutely beautiful full page art, with no dialogue. It was just so amazingly well done, and I can't wait to read what happens next. Still, I'm worried about finishing the series too quickly, so I'll hold off a little before I read Volume four. Again, I'd very highly recommend the Locke & Key series. Even people that normally don't like graphic novels should give it a shot, because I've never really seen anything like it in any other form of media.
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VINE VOICEon March 24, 2011
It's no surprise that Joe Hill is pumping out stories of the macabre, right? And he sure is doing it as well as his Dad (Stephen King) with Locke & Key.

I was first attracted to Locke & Key when I was reading a February 2011 New York Post article about comics and graphic novels that have been or will be turned into movies or TV series. Locke & Key will be one of the latter with a potential pilot episode airing as soon as the end of this year on FOX. So I thought that I'd get "the real story" from the actual author prior its release as a TV series. And so far, after Books 1, 2 & 3, I am not disappointed. (EDIT: 7/2011 - Fox has scratched the Locke & Key pilot - see link in the comment section of this review.)

Locke & Key is violent at times, bloody at times, scary at times, disturbing at times, but most importantly it is very well written. After tragedy struck and took away the father in the Locke family, they relocate from the West Coast and move into a big old spooky mansion in, where else but..."Lovecraft", MA. And you can bet your bottom dollar that in a mansion in a New England town called Lovecraft created by the spawn of Stephen King...thar will be ghosts! And it turns out that there are more than just ghosts; there are keys hidden all over this spooky mansion that unlock amazing powers for the holder of the key(s).

While well written, in Book 1 there were some recycled themes and predictable moments that I thought might take the series to a, well...predictable place. But as Book 2 and 3 unfolded, or should I say unlocked, there's more of a cool uniqueness that's really got me hooked and looking forward to digging into Locke & Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom due to be released this year.

The Locke & Key series is an excellent read for fans of the Fantasy or Horror genres. And I'm now really looking forward to the TV series. It seems like it has a promising Supernaturalish chance of succeeding with War of the Worlds/Sarah Connor Chronicles writer Josh Friedman joining on to help Hill get it "out the door" and onto TV.
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on January 4, 2016
Pretty cool book, joe hill is Stephen King's son so it's no surprise he inherited some of his dad's talent for story telling. When there's so few decent comics, Locke and Key is a breath of fresh air.
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on February 10, 2015
By now the pattern of Hill and Rodriguez's Locke and Key has become apparent: the action (and frequently the metaphor) of each collection will focus on one particular magical key and its powers and practical repercussions.

In this case, it's the Shadow Key, which gives dominion over all shadows and allows the creators to not only stage one of the most beautifully and terrifyingly rendered fight sequences I've ever seen, but also make what may possibly be the most epic Simon and Garfunkel allusion ever.

The lovely thing about this series is not just the exquisite build of horror across the books (though that's also great, and I was happy to see the Lovecraft references start to pay off) but the emotional build. Personal decisions made in prior volumes continue to resonate through the story, particularly those made by Kinsey. Let's face it: You more than half hate her, both before and after she decides to remove her Fear and Sadness, but you understand exactly where she's coming from and all of her actions make psychological sense. (Which doesn't keep you from wanting to shake her until her teeth rattle, but...) Achieving consistency of characterization while demonstrating change and growth is something of a hire-wire writing act, and Hill knocks it out of the park.

Crown has a dark beauty to its story and art, one that will leave you reluctant to turn out the lights and meet what might be waiting in the shadows. If the remaining volumes are even half as good, we're all in for a hell of a ride.
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on August 16, 2015
These books just get better and better. It's been a long time since I've found a great series like this one. I'm so happy I found this series when I did because I can read all 6, and the spin off books.
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on April 20, 2014
While volume 3 of this lovely, addictive series isn't really all that eventful. They do add a lot of new content in the form of characters as well as keys in order to keep the plot moving along as well as setting things up for future books as well. Still a solid volume overall but you may not love it as much as the previous two.
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on February 10, 2013
The hardcover volumes in this series are beautiful books -- the books are sturdy, the covers are interesting & focus on a different key each time, the individual covers are in the back and the inside part of the hardcovers have a different architectural drawing of the Locke mansion.

Rodriguez and Hill work very well together -- some panels and pages are driven by dialogue, while others just have panel after panel without words. They work in in great synchronicity.

Hill keeps expanding the number of characters in Lovecraft without forcing it, and the Locke family continues to develop nicely. The mother's drinking is a real problem, and the kids handle it in different ways.
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on August 7, 2015
Okay, so I am rating all of the Locke and Key books because I have just finished the series, and it is impossible not to just vomit praise all over this story that, if you have read this far into, you already know it is amazing. Right now, you are just reading this, and other reviews, because you want to see how right you were about this series.

Don't worry, you're right, it is awesome.
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on November 9, 2011
Wow. I've read the first 3 volumes and this feels like an epic in the making. The art & story are fantastic. Rodriguez draws distinct characters with great facial expressions, fluid layouts and phenomenal backrounds with such great detail, top that off with some great coloring by Jay Fotos and these books are worth buying for the art alone. Luckily for us we get an incredibly imaginative and original story by Hill. He makes you care about the characters in the first chapter which is never something easy to do. You can't really pigeon hole how to classify this book. There are elements of Horror, Dark Fantasy, etc ... What you can classify it as though is d@#$ good reading.
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