This is the fourth book in the Locke and Key series. It was an excellent book; many more keys are found and things come to a head. Things proceeded a bit too rapidly for my liking, but it was still a very good addition to the series.
In this issue many more keys are found in quick succession. The first chapter focuses on Bode and his finding the Beast Key and becoming a sparrow. The next chapter quickly propels you through a calendar month of craziness at the Locke household. Just when things seem to be going right for the Locke kids they run into a lot of trouble. Dodge gets desperate and things really come to an awful/desperate/surprising conclusion in the final chapter.
I totally agree with other reviews I have read that say the new keys are introduced too quickly. There were so many points where the authors/illustrators had wonderful opportunites to depict shadow battles and beastly transformations, etc. These are breezed through with each one only being given a single scene in the February chapter. The new keys are introduced rapidly and I found myself having to use the index that describes each key at the back of the book to keep track of what was happening. I really do wish they had drawn this out more over a couple of books.
Other than above I really enjoyed this book. The book itself was a beautiful hardcover edition, it is missing the pretty bookmark ribbon that other earlier volumes had...but it still very beautiful and high quality. There are a couple different styles of artwork in this edition; the first chapter featuring Bode has a more cartoony artwork style to it. This new style is well-blended in with the old style. The old style of art is most prevalent and continues to be beautifully done and matches the story very well.
The new keys introduced are all very interesting and I am very attached to all of these emotionally scarred characters. I couldn't believe how things unfolded in the final chapter; I was absolutely rapt and could not put the book down. Now I am dying to know what happens next!
All of our favorite characters from previous volumes appear in this book and the mystery surrounding the Locke family deepens and comes to a climax of sorts. The wait for the next book may just kill me; I have been contemplating buying the comics issue by issue to find out what happens next...
Overall an excellent addition to the Locke and Key series. The introduction of the new keys went too rapidly for me and I wish the story had been drawn out a bit more. Still the new keys are interesting, the mystery is deepening, and the conclusion will leave you riveted and dying to read more. Definitely a book for older teens or adults only; very gorey, bad language, and a number of disturbing scenarios. I can't wait to read the 5th book in this series, Clockworks, due out late spring/early summer of 2012.