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
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.
YALSA Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens 2015
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.