Earlier this month, Audible.com released an audio adaptation of Joe Hill’s renowned comic, ‘Locke and Key’. Said adaptation comes complete with a full voice cast and musical accompaniment, making it an audio-drama as opposed to a simple audiobook.
Going into this without having read the comics themselves is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, you don’t know what you’re in for, so the various twists and revelations pack a bit more punch. On the other hand, not having that visual frame of reference does become a detriment at certain points as it can be hard to understand what, exactly, is going on. A little more narration would have helped on that front.
Actually, what would be really cool is to listen to this as you read through the comic. The voice acting and sound would add to the comics’ visuals and make for a more immersive experience. The two would really complement each other rather well.
Speaking of voice acting, the cast does a top notch job across the board. Newcomers are easily able to connect to the characters and fans of the comic should be more than satisfied with how they’re portrayed here. While the big names advertised are relegated to supporting roles, the main cast is superb.
The series is also bolstered by a strong musical soundtrack. The leitmotifs are simple, but very effective. They do a great job of adding to the tension and atmosphere. They also bolster the series’ more emotional moments. That being said, it really could have done without the lengthy musical interludes. They pad out the run time and don’t really add anything. It seems like you could shave an hour or two off just by shortening them.
The way the story is structured and paced, binge listening may not be the best way to go. As each book in the series goes for a couple of hours, listener fatigue starts to set in if you try to cover multiple books in one go. Listening to it book by book with breaks in between will allow you to better appreciate it and would help mitigate the aforementioned musical interludes.
We’ll save the plot analysis for the comics themselves, but suffice it to say that this is “classic” Hill. It’s dark fantasy that is in the same vein as his novels. If you liked ‘Horns’ and ‘NOS4A2’, then it’s very likely that you’ll enjoy this. It’s creepy, but has its fair share of heart and a little humor peppered throughout.
The other great thing is the price tag. It’s free. You don’t even have to sign up and cash in Audible’s one month free trial to check it out. Granted, it’s likely that this is a limited time offer, so it’s all the more reason to check it out now.
This was a very enjoyable listen and it is highly recommended. If you’re a fan of the comics, Hill’s work, or just audio dramas in general, this is definitely worth checking out. It’s well produced and is very entertaining.