I bought this book ages ago and kept meaning to read it, but that whole to be read pile only seems to grow one way and devours all it touches. However, Through The Woods finally crawled its way to the top and refused to let go of me until I'd read it. I read it three times in the span of one night because I both love and hate myself and enjoy giving my brain nightmare fodder right before bed time.
This is a collection of comics from Emily Carroll and they are all gorgeous. Her style is crisp and clean with black, white and sharp pops of color that draw the eye along the story. The words themselves are a part of the images in many places and the images are ghastly and beautiful all at once.
I loved the turn of phrase that she uses, something very much like a fairytale and very much something much, much darker than anything Disney would touch.
The woods are very much a living thing that watches and reacts to the stories and many of them took unexpected directions. The endings of most of the comics is ambiguous, not giving a neat tied-up-with-a-bow happy ever afters where good has overcome the wicked and terrible monsters of the night. This is where the monsters are still there waiting for one more time.
My favorite piece of the collection was The Nesting Place which was also the only one that had me gasp and flip through again and again with horror and wonder. The monster shows itself in all its toothy detail and it's mesmerizing in its terror. It's also one of the fears I think everyone has: would anyone notice if I wasn't me anymore? And more importantly, would you notice if your loved ones weren't them anymore?
I think the final pages of the collection really summarize the whole thing better than I ever could:
I cannot highly recommend this collection enough. If you love the gothic, the beautiful and the frightening then you need to add this book to your collection immediatly. It only needs one chance to bite you and then it will never let go.