Through the Woods – Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

You will love Through the Woods if:

  • You’re in the mood for something scary and unexpected.
  • You like your fairy tales dark and unsettling, in the Grimm tradition.
  • You want illustrations to perfectly suit the tone and content of the story.

But if you want to sleep soundly tonight, beware. Through the Woods will lurk in the corner shadows and slink into your dreams.

My result: Highly Recommended
5 Stars - Highly recommended

Through the Woods is a graphic novel collection of fairy tales which works on many levels, and will appeal to many readers.

As a scary story, it delivers. Each of the five stories taps into something instinctively frightening. Like the best scary tales, they’re about the things glimpsed at the edge of your vision, the noises at night that you can’t explain, and the secrets hidden behind the faces of those you think you know. There’s enough classic archetype to trigger universal fears, but the specifics of each story are new, so you won’t feel like you’re just reliving a scare you’ve already read. You’ll find something new to disturb you, as you reach to turn out the light and face the darkness.

From the fairy tale perspective, Through the Woods is a delight. It’s not just a retelling, with the same familiar tropes and characters. There will be no comforting sense of familiarity even as the tale is twisted and shaped into a new form. Instead, this collection will remind you why you fell in love with fairy tales in the first place. You will never again be a first time Grimms reader, but there are still new stories being told. Read this under the covers, or go for a walk afterwards, alone, at night. If you dare…

And lastly, as a graphic novel: I loved the illustrations here, and the way the text wove itself onto the page. At first glance, the art seemed grim and creepy but a little juvenile. Then once I got into the story, I realized the art is perfectly suited to the story, and all my reservations vanished. For illustrated horror or just for a graphic novel where art and text are perfectly matched, I highly recommend Through the Woods.

Through the Woods would also be a great pick for junior high kids who like a scary story, with a minimum maturity level of around 7th or 8th grade. Please see my Goodreads review for further content details so you can decide appropriateness for yourself. Full review contains minor spoilers.

Book Awards:
YALSA Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens 2015

Recommended titles for fans of Through the Woods

If you like Through the Woods, try these books.

You might also enjoy:

  • Cruel Beauty – a dark fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with deal-making demons and a sprinkle of Greek mythology.
  • A Monster Calls – a sometimes scary fantasy for young adults which is so much more than it seems.
  • 30 Days of Night – a horror graphic novel with vampires that are still scary and artwork that’s atmospheric and creepy.

11 thoughts on “Through the Woods – Graphic Novel Review

  1. A friend of mine just picked this up and I wondered if it had any correlation to ‘Into the Woods’ (The play, and now a movie.) Personally, I enjoy the happier tales, like ‘Into the Woods’, but I would like to know if this is some kind of a darker interpretation.


    • Through the Woods is not related to Into the Woods. (Though Sondheim’s Into the Woods is one of my favorite musicals, and excellent in it’s own right. I haven’t yet seen the movie.)

      Both pull from the darker Grimms’ Brothers tradition of fairy tales where stories do not always have a happy ending and there are sometimes casualties along the way. Into the Woods does this through a few character deaths and some casual violence, like the blinding of Cinderella’s stepsisters and the mutilation of their feet to fit the slippers. Through the Woods goes much further, with deliberate horror elements, like corpses, monsters, and blood. The violence does not happen on the page, but the evidence of it is more brutal and graphic in Through the Woods than in Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

      Thanks for the question! They have such similar titles it’s easy to get them confused.


  2. Gotcha! The movie is fantastic, by the way! I saw it twice and both times were a blast–just waiting for the soundtrack to be released on Spotify now. Regarding reviews, would you review my book?


    • Thanks, Daniel! I’m hoping I’ll enjoy the movie as much as I do the play.

      Regarding reviews, for now I’m keeping comments free of promotional links. Once I finish getting everything set up I will have a for authors page with my policies. Basically, I don’t accept ARC or direct review requests, but you’re free to bring it to my attention IF it is available on multiple platforms – I do not review or promote exclusives. In future, I will have a specific page where authors may pitch their novels to me. If it is a good fit for my blog readership, I will allow linked comments for interested readers. I will sample or download it myself if it matches my interests well enough to make it onto my to read list on its own merits. I review everything I read, whether that’s a short sample, a do not finish, or a full review.

      Sorry I don’t have that part of my blog set up yet, but I’ll let you know when I do so you can reach out to my readers as well. For now, know I downloaded it to take a look.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a great review. I haven’t read sth so perfect in a while. Anyway, I haven’t read it but I have heard that it’s really good. From a brief look I honestly wasn’t too excited with the illustrations but if the story is great that’s a minor problem.
    Btw I’m so glad that I found your blog and from what I understand you’re new. So good luck! Xx


    • I wasn’t sold on the illustrations at first glance either, but once I started reading they fit the mood well. They’re a little childish, but that just helped it feel even more like the kind of story I would’ve read under the covers or told to scare people. The second and the final story of the volume were my favorites.

      And thank you! I’m really enjoying book blogging so far, and I like writing reviews anyway. It’s fun to try and connect with a community who likes the same things.

      Liked by 1 person

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