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“Oh, but you must travel through those woods again & again…” said a shadow at the window. “…and you must be lucky to avoid the wolf every time… But the wolf… the wolf only needs enough luck to find you ONCE.”

Wow, it’s not often I’m so excited by a work of fiction I immediately want to tell everyone I know about it! But this graphic novel has simply blown me away.ThroughTheWoods

I like graphic novels but don’t read them too often; Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods has made me think I’m missing a trick here. It’s just sublime – five short tales on the theme of what lurks in the dark dark woods, a twist on familiar fairy tales which leaves a delicious shiver down your spine. Little Red Riding Hood is the archetypal fairy tale, so deep with psychological resonances it transcends its medium. Carroll closes her novel with a wonderfully short but utterly perfect take on this story. Her other tales are gothic, disturbing, compelling, and not a word is wasted or out of place. The first two – Our Neighbor’s House and The Lady With Cold Hands – read aloud amazingly well, so rare for graphic novels, and so they are destined to become a staple feature of my book promotions to teenagers. And all the stories are illustrated in just the right mood and tone, adding layer upon layer to the words. Gruesome and unsettling by turns, illustration and writing work in perfect partnership to chill the blood.

Utterly exceptional, I highly recommend this spooky collection!

Rating: *****

Faber and Faber, 2014, ISBN 9780571288656

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