Locke & Key (Audible Audio Drama)
Author: Joe Hill | Illustrator: Gabriel Rodriguez
Cast: Haley Joel Osment, Tatiana Maslany, Kate Mulgrew + Full Cast
Audio Book Provider: Audible
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Genre: Horror, Fantasy
Release Date: October 5th 2015
Total Length: 13 hours 26 mins
Audible Link: Locke & Key
Locke and Key is probably the graphic novel series that gets recommended to me the most often. I’ve always meant to pick up the series, especially during my yearly visits to Fan Expo Canada, but I always seem to push it aside for whatever reason. While browsing through Audible recently, I noticed that you could pre-order Locke and Key. At first I was slightly confused as I didn’t realize that graphic novels were also created as audiobooks, but then I noticed that it was labeled as an audio drama. Curious, I clicked the link and decided to check what it was all about.
The Lock and Key audio drama is basically like listening to a film with your eyes closed. There are sound effects and a musical score (that reminds me a lot of a Tim Burton soundtrack, take a listen after this paragraph) and even a full cast of actors rather than just one or two narrators. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I should read the graphic novels first before listening to the audio drama, but then I noticed that it was free! I mean, who can resist a few audiobook am I right? Especially when it is a story that it constantly being recommended to you and that you have wanted to read for quite some time.
Locke and Key, written by Joe Hill, tells the story of the Locke Family who moves from California to their ancestral estate in Lovecraft, Massachusetts after a tragic event changes the family’s lives forever. Within their new home lies an ancient form of dark magic. Keys are hidden throughout the house that open secret doors that allow children under the age of 18 to experience the individual power of each key and the magical secrets they contain.
Locke and Key consists of six graphic novels and the audio drama separates the story into six parts mirroring the graphic novel series. As I stated earlier, this audio drama is performed by a full cast, including a few very notable names. Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) portrays Sam Lesser, a disturbed teenager responsible for a tragic event that shakes the lives of the Locke family. Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) plays the part of a demonic spirit named Dodge who probably becomes one of the most strange and interesting characters as the series continues. Another big name to appear in this audio drama is none other than Kate Mulgrew (Orange is the New Black) as one seriously awful mother/grandmother. On top of these three wonderful actors, we have a full cast of almost 50 talented individuals portraying the rest of the many characters, including the three Locke family children: Tyler, Kinsey and Bode, within the world of Locke and Key.
I had never listened to an audio drama before and it’s funny because I thought of it as this cool new and interesting thing when in reality there were plenty of radio dramas back before television programming even existed. I found it hard to get used to at first as there was no standard narrator that told you what was going on. There was no way to know what actions were taking place other than relying on the sound effects and other cues that took place while listening. The more I listened though, the easier it was to follow along. I started to get a feel for the voices of each actor and it became easier to tell one character from another.
Locke and Key is a very intricate and detailed story. There are moments that I really wished that I had the visuals from the graphic novels to accompany me through the audio drama. Locke and Key is so unique and unlike anything I have ever read/watched/listened to before. It has the perfect blend of fantasy and horror and I absolutely loved that combination. Joe Hill definitely worked his magic on this one!
The acting, for the most part, is phenomenal. It really was like watching a movie with my eyes closed. Everything felt believable, even considering the magical nature of the story, and I was completely entertained from start to finish.
As much as I did enjoy this story as an audio drama, I think I still would have preferred the graphic novels, or to at least have read them beforehand. The thing with graphic novels and film/television is that they provide you with an extra bit of information. There is only so much a sound effect can achieve. I found myself having to put pieces together on quite a number of occasions.
If anything, this audio performance has me wanting to read the graphic novels even more than I did before! I think going forward I would recommend either having read the graphic novels before listening to the audio drama or having them with you as you listen, as a kind of dual experience. I will definitely be picking myself up a copy of the graphic novels as soon as possible and I hope to write a review on those as soon as I can!