oddmonster (oddmonster) wrote in bookish,

Review: House of Mystery, vol.2: Love Stories for Dead People

#7: House of Mystery volume 2: Love Stories for Dead People by Matthew Sturges, Luca Rossi, and Jose Marzan, Jr.

Every house is haunted. Every harsh word, every slip of the knife, every tear shed in a house--these things bleed down through its walls and floors and pool in its dark recesses.

Synopsis: The cast of strangers trapped in the bar beyond time and space have hatched a plan to escape. There's just a few things they didn't take into account.

Continuing almost exactly where volume one left off, volume two was in fact even more awesome. Harry the Bartender has hatched a plan with the Scary Pirate Lady to tunnel to freedom through the basement. Blithely ignoring the fact that the basement has a nasty habit of changing shape and dimension, they drag Fig with them and spectacularly fail to divulge what happened the last time they came up with a plan this awesome.

Left to their own devices in the bar proper, Poet and Cressida throw a party. The kind of party where everybody winds up on their back somewhere, sometimes in groups, sometimes with tentacles. Of course, everyone's got their secrets...

I adore this series. The pacing of this second volume is better, too, and the story hurtles along to its cliffhanger ending, which left me peering at the backpapers in case I missed a squidge of What Happens Next.

I like the art, but I love the characters and am completely sold on the underlying mythology, which the authors have done a much better job of unveiling in this volume than the first one. Sure, there are still a lot of things left unexplained, but now they're more intriguing than annoying. The conceit of how houses are souled and soiled is near and dear to my heart. It's like if Lovecraft went into real estate.

But more than that, the characters are appealing and vulnerable and terrible by turns. There's a chapter of backstory for the Scary Pirate Lady right at the beginning that I think I've read ten times already. How exactly, she came to love the sea and only the sea.

The third volume of the series comes out Feb 2; I've already requested the library get it oh, I don't know, that very day.

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