When I Arrived at the Castle

When I Arrived at the Castle (2019)



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Like many before her that have never come back, she’s made it to the Countess’ castle determined to snuff out the horror, but she could never be prepared for what hides within its turrets; what unfurls under its fluttering flags. Emily Carroll has fashioned a rich gothic horror charged with eroticism that doesn’t just make your skin crawl, it crawls into it.

From: Koyama Press

Notes on This Title



2019 Harvey Award Nominee for Book of the Year


“This gothic encounter between a lady vampire and a catwoman may be a lesbian love story or a gory revenge tale. The text is sparse and the vivid illustrations are poetic in their openness to interpretation. But either way, it’s a bloody good tale.” (Source: The Advocate)

“Carroll illustrates using only the striking colors of red, black, and white; this, of course, makes the blood really stand out. A cat-like woman arrives at a castle, to find (and kill) the vampire Countess who lives there. She’s not the first to investigate the castle to uncover its horrors, but she hopes to be the first person to make it out alive. But she is not prepared for everything hiding in the castle’s nooks and crannies. Things are not as they seem — for either the narrator or the Countess. Eroticism, violence, and horror come together to make a mysterious and twisty tale that is as beautiful as it is terrifying.” (Source: Autostraddle)

“Koyama Press does exceptional work with production design, releasing comics that have their own distinct dimensions, binding, paper stock, and trade dress to make each book a specific, special product. The oversized dimensions of When I Arrived At The Castle accentuate the splendor of Carroll’s storytelling, but thanks to Carroll’s expressive layouts, the size of the page also informs the emotional content in different ways.” (Source: The A.V. Club)

“With deep blacks offset by visceral reds on almost every page – reflecting in turn the bleakness and brutality of the story – this slow-building confrontation is a spellbindingly unsettling affair; reader feeling as entranced by the Countess’s mesmerisingly sinister presence as her visitor. Carroll ramps up the tension with the curiously disarming poetical language of the piece emphasising a sense of beauty in the terrible, and the lyrical cadence of the words seducing us with an alluring rhythm as these near-80 pages work towards their fatalistic inevitability.” (Source: Broken Frontier)

“The girl’s relationship with the Countess whipsaws between righteous anger, sexual fascination, and fear as the vampire toys with her. Carroll’s lush, sensual artwork complements the material, creating a sense of ornate decadence and nightmarish disorientation with elegant but economical lines in a simple red-and-black color scheme with muted grey shadowing and splatter paint details. The backgrounds carry metaphor through repeating patterns of flowers, eyes, mazes, and bones. Carroll’s fans will best appreciate this slim poetic work, as it delivers on her standards, and envelops the reader in a world that’s tense, haunting, and genuinely scary.” (Source: Publishers Weekly)

“There is an intentional eroticism about it, an exploration of desire and transgressing; the countess knows immediately what the catgirl wants, even if the reader does not. And what she wants, too, contorts and transforms over the course of the story, just as the countess does. Despite the gore, the story is still erotic, its focus on lips, teeth, and bare breasts drenched in blood blending titillation with disgust. That feeling of discomfort lasts long after reading.” (Source: Women Write About Comics)



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