When I Arrived at the Castle

When I Arrived at the Castle

"A castle, a killer, and prey all bound and blurred by lust and blood."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 th...

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Title:When I Arrived at the Castle
Author:Emily Carroll
Rating:
Edition Language:English

When I Arrived at the Castle Reviews

  • Ilana

    Gothic erotic violent bloody and disturbing, as one expects horror by Emily Carroll to be. A cat-like girl arrives at a castle out of the cold and rain and is greeted by a beautiful woman of seductive beauty. But others have been to the castle before and her arrival was expected. Nothing is what it seems and the beautiful woman is only a skin inhabited by a horrible vampiric beast. Somehow our girl must kill this demon who has slayed the other innocent girls who came to eliminate her before. The

    Gothic erotic violent bloody and disturbing, as one expects horror by Emily Carroll to be. A cat-like girl arrives at a castle out of the cold and rain and is greeted by a beautiful woman of seductive beauty. But others have been to the castle before and her arrival was expected. Nothing is what it seems and the beautiful woman is only a skin inhabited by a horrible vampiric beast. Somehow our girl must kill this demon who has slayed the other innocent girls who came to eliminate her before. The story seems mostly an excuse for Carroll’s gorgeous illustrations and is deliberately convoluted. Definitely not for children, with lesbian erotica and lots of disturbing bloody violence. David wrote an excellent review some hours back that had me thinking I shouldn’t even attempt my own review and should just post a link to his. Can’t do that on my phone but will provide when I am at my computer next.

  • Elizabeth

    Caroll has crafted another beautifully atmospheric and decadent novel that skirts the line of horror and the gothic. A curious and courageous cat-eared girl braves the castle of a vampiric countess with plans to destroy her. Plans change and go pear-shaped when the strange catgirl instead finds that the countess is waiting for her. Soon, the girl is sent into a maze of tragic fairy tales and stories that she must claw her way th

    Caroll has crafted another beautifully atmospheric and decadent novel that skirts the line of horror and the gothic. A curious and courageous cat-eared girl braves the castle of a vampiric countess with plans to destroy her. Plans change and go pear-shaped when the strange catgirl instead finds that the countess is waiting for her. Soon, the girl is sent into a maze of tragic fairy tales and stories that she must claw her way through holding as best she can on to her purpose and sanity. The tales trapped behind red doors, the house, countess, and her; all is not what it seems.

    This story is a rich work that you need to read a few times to get all the meanings. It is beautifully executed, much is conveyed in the simple palette of three colors; bone white, black, and blood red. It is gothic; ornate when it needs to be and simple when it doesn't. The backgrounds are simple with repeating patterns, but still very useful. It is a hauntingly scary work for a short graphic novella much in the style of her other novels (Out of Skin, Through The Woods) and shouldn't be missed.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This is just one story, but all in striking blacks, reds, and whites like her previous work. A woman arrives at a castle, but why is she there, and who is the person answering the door? Things are not what they seem.

    This is not for kids, as the eroticism and violence might be a bit much! Definitely a tale for adults.

  • David Schaafsma

    I am a huge fan of Emily Carroll, and very much like When I Arrived at the Castle, which might best be described as a lesbian horror fairy tale. Here’s a bit of what happens: A cat-eared human visits a Countess’ castle to kill her. We don’t know why, but she isn’t the first to try. She is surprised to find that the Countess is waiting for her. The cat-girl is led to a series of (red) doors, behind each a tragic fairy tale she must navigate to survive and remain sane. It’s an ode here to literatu

    I am a huge fan of Emily Carroll, and very much like When I Arrived at the Castle, which might best be described as a lesbian horror fairy tale. Here’s a bit of what happens: A cat-eared human visits a Countess’ castle to kill her. We don’t know why, but she isn’t the first to try. She is surprised to find that the Countess is waiting for her. The cat-girl is led to a series of (red) doors, behind each a tragic fairy tale she must navigate to survive and remain sane. It’s an ode here to literature, to fairy tales that scare and seduce us. What happens later is the sex part, which gets murky and complicated, as in dreams.

    The Countess is a vampire, a femme fatale, alluring and dangerous and creepy, the flame to the cat-girl’s moth. But how can we resist her attractions?! And she’s a shape-changer: one of the most alarming and amazing sequences happens as cat-girl watches the Countess at her dressing table. Successfully scary!

    So it’s dark erotic fantasy in Carroll’s signature black and white and (bloody) red. A touch of gothic, certainly. Decadent in the way of nineteenth century “decadent” art. A nod to things like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, after which she takes off in a swirlingly dangerous and delicious direction the Bronte women could not have taken (but possibly allude to). And complicated, in the ways of the best of fantasy, which leave us some space to dream in our own heads and maybe leave us a bit confused if we try to explain it all. Which is to say it prioritizes atmosphere over plot. All about mysterious, intense feelings, in that Poe/Bronte romantic sense. At the intersection of violence and eroticism, which means it is not for kiddies.

    And the art style fits the open, reader-based narrative of fantasy; Carroll almost never uses a panel structure at all, favoring (bloody) splash pages in rhapsodic fashion. It’s a poetic structure that fits a “tale of mystery and imagination,” one that allows for the “grotesque.”

    Maybe for my tastes (ahem!) I like the more the (slightly) more conventional Through the Woods tales, but from light fantasy and YA (her illustrated Speak) to dark horror, Carroll can do it all, the best there is. And you can find her stuff, wonderful short shorts, on her website for free sampling, too.

    I guess I rate this as 4 stars because I think the degree of confusion I still have after two readings is greater than I prefer, but the art is 5 stars, for sure.

  • Lauren

    2 stars for content but 5 stars for artwork.

    When I Arrived at the Castle is a Gothic adaptation mixing Dracula and Alice in Wonderland so I was very intrigued to pick this up. I thoroughly enjoyed Carroll's previous publication, Through the Woods, but felt this effort wasn't up to the same standard in terms of storytelling. There is something delightfully macabre and deliciously wicked about Carroll's illustrations but, in this case, the actual story wasn't that coherent and a bit confusing at

    2 stars for content but 5 stars for artwork.

    When I Arrived at the Castle is a Gothic adaptation mixing Dracula and Alice in Wonderland so I was very intrigued to pick this up. I thoroughly enjoyed Carroll's previous publication, Through the Woods, but felt this effort wasn't up to the same standard in terms of storytelling. There is something delightfully macabre and deliciously wicked about Carroll's illustrations but, in this case, the actual story wasn't that coherent and a bit confusing at times which was a shame. :/ Having finished the book, I thought 'hmm...well that was a bit odd', but didn't feel anything more unfortunately.

  • Rod Brown

    The Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts fistfight in hell in this unsettling and gory tone piece.

  • Crowinator

    Emily Carroll's bloody, beautiful, suggestive, ornately grotesque artwork is masterful, as always, but the story lacks coherency. I'm all for evocative mood and ambiguity, but I honestly do not understand the story after reading it twice; it's spare and poetic and effectively so, but more confusing than any folkloric story should be. I think I needed a little more

    S

    Emily Carroll's bloody, beautiful, suggestive, ornately grotesque artwork is masterful, as always, but the story lacks coherency. I'm all for evocative mood and ambiguity, but I honestly do not understand the story after reading it twice; it's spare and poetic and effectively so, but more confusing than any folkloric story should be. I think I needed a little more

    So, 5 stars for the artwork, and the interplay between the art and the story; 2.5 to 3 for the story itself.

  • Sam Quixote

    It was a dark and stormy night…

    … when a cat-like humanoid rocked up to the vampiric Countess’ castle to slay her. Yup, that old chestnut! But who is the predator and who is the prey?

    Emily Carroll’s When I Arrived at the Castle is a disappointingly weak and unmemorable lesbian/horror fairy tale, the kind of book I imagine Angela Carter would’ve produced if she’d made comics. Carroll mashes together elements of Dracula, Bluebeard and Beauty and the Beast into a barely coherent, rambling story wh

    It was a dark and stormy night…

    … when a cat-like humanoid rocked up to the vampiric Countess’ castle to slay her. Yup, that old chestnut! But who is the predator and who is the prey?

    Emily Carroll’s When I Arrived at the Castle is a disappointingly weak and unmemorable lesbian/horror fairy tale, the kind of book I imagine Angela Carter would’ve produced if she’d made comics. Carroll mashes together elements of Dracula, Bluebeard and Beauty and the Beast into a barely coherent, rambling story whose obliqueness leaves very little impression behind.

    Carroll’s art is utterly beautiful though. The splash-pages are intricate and imaginative dreamscapes gorgeously coloured in striking blacks, whites and reds and I loved the highly stylized, baroque designs of the castle. Her take on the Countess is interesting and the character was genuinely creepy with some actually shocking scenes (the keyhole!).

    Visually this is an appealing book but the dreamlike story is much less compelling to read. And, like a dream (or nightmare), not long after reading When I Arrived at the Castle I’d already forgotten most of it and moved on! If you’ve not read it I recommend Emily Carroll’s other, much better book, Through the Woods, instead.

  • Faith (BookSelf ~ You Are What You Read)

    I'm really disappointed. Emily Carroll is one of my favorite comic artists and horror authors, but this was just way too confusing. I usually don't mind twisty stuff, but I'm honestly not sure what this was even about. From start to finish, this relied solely on the self-indulgent aesthetic of ~

    ~ to drive the narrative. I need more than pretty pictures to enjoy a story.

    I just don't get why this got a print release when it makes absolutely no sense and many of Carroll's other work bot

    I'm really disappointed. Emily Carroll is one of my favorite comic artists and horror authors, but this was just way too confusing. I usually don't mind twisty stuff, but I'm honestly not sure what this was even about. From start to finish, this relied solely on the self-indulgent aesthetic of ~

    ~ to drive the narrative. I need more than pretty pictures to enjoy a story.

    I just don't get why this got a print release when it makes absolutely no sense and many of Carroll's other work both look better and actually have a point.

  • Lauren James

    A strange, hypnotic fairy tale graphic novel with a very seductive vampire and her prey. Really odd and I wasn’t sure I liked it when I first read it, but it’s been growing on me whenever I think about it.

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