In the first volume, we met the Lockes and ran across a few keys–three were found by Bode, the youngest Locke sibling, two were used, but only one by him. Ty and Kinsey, the elder Locke siblings, made some friends. And Bode met someone, too. In this second volume, the story focuses on connecting some of the secondary characters with the past–their dad’s younger brother, Duncan; Ty’s friend, Zack Wells; and the school’s gym and drama teachers, Ellie Whedon and Joe Ridgeway, respectively.
Locke & Key is still gruesome, still dark, and still intriguing, but it’s falling a little flat in the character rationale and continuity department. Zack seems to be at the center of my frustration with this volume. Personally, I think he’s skeevy. I’ll start with his first appearance, which was near the end of volume 1. Ty introduces him to Kinsey and Bode and I thought, “OK… random.” Other than at school, the story didn’t go into how they met, but Ty had his head up his arse the whole volume, so when did he take it out long enough to befriend someone? Where did his guilty brooding go? It doesn’t make sense.
So Zack’s next connection was with Ridgeway. I liked Ridgeway’s full circle story, but his procrastination irked me. Once he suspected Zack, he jumped right into his sleuthing, but after he put some of the puzzle pieces together, he decided to sleep on it? It wasn’t just some curiosity; he was perplexed, scared, and even though he tried to come up with a good reason for Zack being around, he sensed danger. So, why wait? I’m guessing Joe Hill knew this was lame because he tried to make it fly with this:
This does not make it OK. If anything, this would be an incentive added to his fear to get to the bottom of things. It doesn’t make sense.
Next is Kinsey. After the Ridgeway incident, she was shook and dashed off to get a grip on things. Ty and Zack found her and bought ice cream to comfort her. I get the feeling that even though Ty and Kinsey aren’t no me without you siblings, they still get along pretty well. So why is it Zack who brought her the ice cream–one she’s never tried– and not Ty who should have had half an idea of what flavor she liked? Then later–this is more Ty than Kinsey, but…–after Bode finally figures out what the third key that he found opens and he finally gets Ty and Kinsey to take him seriously–much to their horror–Ty decides that this discovery they promised not to tell anyone about was subject to an exception when it came to Zack, someone he barely knew and Jordan Gates (I have to wonder if her last name is significant), some girl he just met. Kinsey called him out on Jordan, but still let the whole thing slide. Later still, after Kinsey made use of the key–in the presence of Zack, mind you–and removed her fear and ability to cry, Zack shows up in her bedroom later that night and she doesn’t bat an eyelash. Neither fear nor tears has absolute dominion over logic or common sense. You don’t have to be scared to know there’s something wrong with an uninvited person in your bedroom in the middle of the night while you sleep. And then she kissed him! The story isn’t making it out to be a crush revealed. It’s more like curiosity, but still, there’s been no hint of it. It doesn’t make sense.
Last is Duncan. As he was heading back to his own life after getting everyone settled into their new one, he ran into Ty and Zack. He recognized Zack, but greeted him like a stranger. Now, Duncan is a guy who has to have some notion of what’s going on with the house–him and his uncanny artistic skill. It’s fine if he doesn’t call it out right then and there, but he didn’t even think about the meaning of Zack’s presence until he had gone back home and returned to work. Even then he did nothing. So, some guy he knows disappeared when he was younger shows up looking not one day older–maybe even younger–with his nephew after all the stuff that has happened and he doesn’t think to take action until after he goes out with his boyfriend and gets cracked upside his head in a bar fight? It doesn’t make sense.
Although Zack maybe skeezy and at the center of my frustration, I don’t dislike him. Actually, he’s at the center of one of the best storylines in this volume. The only one of Zack’s connections that rings true is the one with Ellie and her son. This alone has me on edge and really gives me something to look forward to.
Hindsight is 20/20. There’s this one part in the beginning of volume 1 where Ty is sitting outside of bedroom and this kid I thought was Bode sneaks over and plants himself right outside the door. There are two people in the room talking about finalities and the guy says that the house didn’t chose him, it chose Duncan. Going back to read it, I realize that Ty is in the present and the kid along with the two people are a memory he’s seeing. Now I’m certain that Duncan is aware of something, but I’m not sure how much of it he’s conscious of. Also, it could be nothing, but I wonder if Jordan’s reaction to the result of Ty using the key is more than just being freaked out by something that freaky.
Locke & Key may have it’s faults, but despite these things, the story, as a whole, is still good and I’ll continue reading it.