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House of Mystery, Volume 8: Desolation

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In this final volume, the big confrontation between Fig and the Conception, between Fig and Lotus Blossom, between Lotus Blossom and the Magical Physicians, between Fig and Lotus Blossom and Harry, between - okay, between everyone and everyone else, and it's been building since issue one. What will become of the House of Mystery? There's only one way to find out... Collecti In this final volume, the big confrontation between Fig and the Conception, between Fig and Lotus Blossom, between Lotus Blossom and the Magical Physicians, between Fig and Lotus Blossom and Harry, between - okay, between everyone and everyone else, and it's been building since issue one. What will become of the House of Mystery? There's only one way to find out... Collecting: House of Mystery 36-42


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In this final volume, the big confrontation between Fig and the Conception, between Fig and Lotus Blossom, between Lotus Blossom and the Magical Physicians, between Fig and Lotus Blossom and Harry, between - okay, between everyone and everyone else, and it's been building since issue one. What will become of the House of Mystery? There's only one way to find out... Collecti In this final volume, the big confrontation between Fig and the Conception, between Fig and Lotus Blossom, between Lotus Blossom and the Magical Physicians, between Fig and Lotus Blossom and Harry, between - okay, between everyone and everyone else, and it's been building since issue one. What will become of the House of Mystery? There's only one way to find out... Collecting: House of Mystery 36-42

30 review for House of Mystery, Volume 8: Desolation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    The one thing this has going for it is that it's fast. The interesting characters die super quick, the reality-ending scenes too, and the resolutions are as easy as wish-fulfillment. I guess that's what you get for making a character like this. Rely on a little lost romance, other women stealing your beau's bed, little gargoyles play-acting as real women with jealousy issues, you name it, these are the kinds of subplots you have to rely on. Quirky and out there and creative, but I still think the The one thing this has going for it is that it's fast. The interesting characters die super quick, the reality-ending scenes too, and the resolutions are as easy as wish-fulfillment. I guess that's what you get for making a character like this. Rely on a little lost romance, other women stealing your beau's bed, little gargoyles play-acting as real women with jealousy issues, you name it, these are the kinds of subplots you have to rely on. Quirky and out there and creative, but I still think the center cannot hold. Is the center the house? By all rights it is. But what happens when it gets tiny and gets buried, like the main plot? Dissolution. What happened here? At least in the earlier issues, we had an underlying mystery and a reliance on revelation. Right now, it's dopplegangers of order and ultimate revision. One part of me likes it, but the other part that reads for pure enjoyment thinks this is all one big cop-out. I may be in a mood, tonight. Who knows? I'm certainly not being generous.

  2. 5 out of 5

    colleen the convivial curmudgeon

    3.5 For a lot of the first half of this book I've had the same problem I've had a lot with this series - i.e. not remembering what happened last time and, thus, having a hard time following what the hell was going on. It didn't help that it was jumping all over the place in time, and things kept changing... This was doubly irritating because there's actually a summary thing at the start of the book, but it neglected to reference a really fucking important person in this book, so I was like "Huh? W 3.5 For a lot of the first half of this book I've had the same problem I've had a lot with this series - i.e. not remembering what happened last time and, thus, having a hard time following what the hell was going on. It didn't help that it was jumping all over the place in time, and things kept changing... This was doubly irritating because there's actually a summary thing at the start of the book, but it neglected to reference a really fucking important person in this book, so I was like "Huh? WTF?" About mid-way, though, things started to become more clear, and a lot was explained. Not just explained but, in the end, summed up. See - what I didn't know going in is that this seems to be the last in the series. And the epilogue - because Fig likes epilogues and, as she says, too bad if you don't - wrapped up all the various lose ends of people who sort of went off and were never heard from again and their ilk. The bump to 4 stars (instead of down to 3) comes mostly because I liked the ending. I'm glad that we finally got an explanation, of sorts, as to what the hell was going on this whole time, and I did like the epilogue bits - even if I thought it didn't feel more organic and more like "Ok, we're ending this now, so wrap up time". Also, I liked the bit after the epilogue. (The epi-epilogue? See, the epilogue was the end of Fig's tale, but not the end of the House's tale... ) Three groups of people, in some untold future time, try to figure out the House - where it came from, and what happened to it. Cain and Abel make one last enjoyable appearance, and the ending was totally fitting, considering the name of the game. This is definitely a series I want to go back and reread straight through at some point, to fill in a lot of those missing gaps in my memory. Until then it's hard to pin down whether the story, itself, was jumpy in places, or whether it truly was just me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hollowspine

    The last of the House of Mystery series, I hope. Although it is true that I read every issue of this comic book, I wouldn't say I enjoyed every page. In the first issues I really enjoyed 'meeting' all the different characters and hearing their stories. The use of characters and locations from other comic worlds added to the appeal for me. As the story grew though, it lost it's former charm. The more the plot focused on Fig the less the stories did for me. She was a terrible cliche and so self-ab The last of the House of Mystery series, I hope. Although it is true that I read every issue of this comic book, I wouldn't say I enjoyed every page. In the first issues I really enjoyed 'meeting' all the different characters and hearing their stories. The use of characters and locations from other comic worlds added to the appeal for me. As the story grew though, it lost it's former charm. The more the plot focused on Fig the less the stories did for me. She was a terrible cliche and so self-absorbed it was actually painful to read. In the end she is surprised when she realizes who the Conception is, but I saw it coming all along. A mediocre twist at best. I believe the introduction of the Lotus Blossom character was meant to shake things up a bit, but her and Fig were basically the same person. It was pretty lame. All the best characters had bit roles and in these latest comics are barely mentioned at all. So, I give three stars because of the potential that the book had in it's first pages, but really these last issues are down to about one star. It didn't live up to it's potential at all. For readers who want to do the work of creating the story for themselves, this is wallows in it's meta-ness. If one likes being pointed to and spoken to by comic book characters, this might be your story. Or if one enjoys creating timelines and trying to figure out what is actually happening by creating charts and graphs, this book has a lot to work on. People age unexpectedly. They go into the future. Then the past. Then a different past. Then they die. Then they come back, but different. It's ridiculously hard to follow, and sadly, I found by the end I didn't really care enough to try. Anyone just looking for a good story, look elsewhere.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mike Clooney

    I always wanted to like the HOUSE OF MYSTERY revival, since the original is a nostalgic favorite. The series had an intriguing premise, college student Fig Keele stumbling upon the legendary house of many tales, and her ongoing serial being used to frame short anthology stories (in homage to the classic series' format). The prospect of seeing Cain, Abel, and other mainstays from The Dreaming again was also a bonus. Unfortunately, after a promising start, the series quickly devolved into a self-in I always wanted to like the HOUSE OF MYSTERY revival, since the original is a nostalgic favorite. The series had an intriguing premise, college student Fig Keele stumbling upon the legendary house of many tales, and her ongoing serial being used to frame short anthology stories (in homage to the classic series' format). The prospect of seeing Cain, Abel, and other mainstays from The Dreaming again was also a bonus. Unfortunately, after a promising start, the series quickly devolved into a self-indulgent mess. It's one of those cases where the writer is deliberately obtuse and ambiguous, thinking he's being avant-garde and artsy, but he's really just being lazy and plotting on the fly. A metaphor for nothing is, after all, still nothing. The story meanders aimlessly, and this volume's device of two parallel storylines set several months apart only serves to confuse the reader. There's no sense of impending denouement in this final volume - by the end, we're just glad it's over. The best thing about the series was always the one-off "stories" told in the House, and this volume does feature some nice art on those by some of the industry's current best like Darwyn Cooke and David Lapham. I wasn't particularly thrilled with the story revealing the fate of Goldie the Gargoyle, maybe the most endearing character from Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN, though. This is not a stand-alone volume, and if you're interested in the premise at all, it's best to start with the first book. Whether you make it all the way here to Vol. 8 is entirely up to you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ella Jean

    This was a good series. Nothing fancy, just a good, fun bedtime read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Lohr

    *This review can also be found on my blog, The Never-Ending TBR Pile. Changes. Struggles. New beginnings. The last volume of House of Mystery has a lot going on and many loose ends to tie up. Old characters resurface, current characters find themselves in new situations, and Fig struggles to decide what the right thing to do is. It all boils down to the Conception and what it really means. I don't really want to give anything away, but this volume was a great ending to a fantastic series. The artwo *This review can also be found on my blog, The Never-Ending TBR Pile. Changes. Struggles. New beginnings. The last volume of House of Mystery has a lot going on and many loose ends to tie up. Old characters resurface, current characters find themselves in new situations, and Fig struggles to decide what the right thing to do is. It all boils down to the Conception and what it really means. I don't really want to give anything away, but this volume was a great ending to a fantastic series. The artwork was phenomenal, as always, and the paths each character finally took made sense in the end. The author and artists didn't shy away from the darker side of the human character and this just made the entire story all the more enjoyable. Happily ever after? Well, it depends on how you define it. It was a great ending for me and no doubt I'll be re-reading this series in the future to not only pick up on what I might have missed the first time around, but to also enjoy the artwork once more!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The first few trades were strong enough to keep me committed to the end, but somewhere in the middle of the series, some of the magic began to fade for me. I dared to hope for Vol 8. While it definitely had some enjoyable and satisfying moments, for the most part, it felt forced in some places and phoned in in others. New (and less than likeable) characters were introduced at the last minute, while long loved characters were suddenly missing. Overall, the series was enjoyable and worth the read The first few trades were strong enough to keep me committed to the end, but somewhere in the middle of the series, some of the magic began to fade for me. I dared to hope for Vol 8. While it definitely had some enjoyable and satisfying moments, for the most part, it felt forced in some places and phoned in in others. New (and less than likeable) characters were introduced at the last minute, while long loved characters were suddenly missing. Overall, the series was enjoyable and worth the read despite the inconsistency. If I could, I'd add half a star just for Tursig's portion of the epilogue.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Boring lost the plot half way through given up now going to start reading something more my style Randomly picked up from library didn't realise this was number 8 in the series kind of the reason to why I don't fully understand the plot

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aldi

    Errrr. Wow. Really? That was a Dark Tower level let-down of an ending. Urgh.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Has a lot in common with The Unwritten, but much more abstract. Incorporates the read in a way that is not corny

  11. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    Wasn't too happy with the ending to this series. Thought the second to last issue was a better ending. Also thought this comic dragged on way to long. And the horror rather went away, turned to fantasy, then some metaphysical stuff. Should have stuck with horror. I like fantasy and metafictional stuff, but with comics it can get overdone and usually in the same ways. However, they did tie up the ending with all the characters you cared about at least and told you what happens with each of them. I Wasn't too happy with the ending to this series. Thought the second to last issue was a better ending. Also thought this comic dragged on way to long. And the horror rather went away, turned to fantasy, then some metaphysical stuff. Should have stuck with horror. I like fantasy and metafictional stuff, but with comics it can get overdone and usually in the same ways. However, they did tie up the ending with all the characters you cared about at least and told you what happens with each of them. I liked the Sandman tie in with stuff like Goldie, Cain, and Abel. Even some of the new characters were somewhat interesting. I just felt they needed more background story to them because I felt we only got Fig’s story. I just wish this series could have been better. Cause the series was good and then it got off track I think. Giving this trade and the series a four star rating. I had good story telling elements and some of the artwork was good too. Plus the covers keep the horror theme going even if the comic got off that genre and into something else.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Fulya İçöz

    I have always enjoyed reading House of Mystery. The stories are gripping, Luca Rossi's illustrations are artistic and always attentive. Its covers are always great. It has all the things a comic book should have. And now it has ended. Unbelievable but true. I have been reading the series since Feb, 2010. Never missed a trade and sadly this two-year journey ends here. The ending was satisfying however I wish it would have ended in a more horrifying and depressing way. I don't think that a happy e I have always enjoyed reading House of Mystery. The stories are gripping, Luca Rossi's illustrations are artistic and always attentive. Its covers are always great. It has all the things a comic book should have. And now it has ended. Unbelievable but true. I have been reading the series since Feb, 2010. Never missed a trade and sadly this two-year journey ends here. The ending was satisfying however I wish it would have ended in a more horrifying and depressing way. I don't think that a happy end was proper for the series. A little frustrating in this sense. But as Fig says, "Is it a satisfying ending? Is it thematically appropriate? I don't know. I don't give a fuck anymore. A story should have a point, but a life doesn't need one. It just needs to be lived".

  13. 5 out of 5

    Meran

    This volume is the last one in this series, sorry to say. As I said for volume 7, I wish another author had taken over the duties, rather than have this series end. I think it had a great run, with sometimes VERY funny stories told by the visitors to the House bar. I also liked the different histories of those patrons, when told. A lot of imagination went into the production of this series. I'm sad to see it go. The House showed up in Lucifer, I believe, and even in the Sandman series, in much mo This volume is the last one in this series, sorry to say. As I said for volume 7, I wish another author had taken over the duties, rather than have this series end. I think it had a great run, with sometimes VERY funny stories told by the visitors to the House bar. I also liked the different histories of those patrons, when told. A lot of imagination went into the production of this series. I'm sad to see it go. The House showed up in Lucifer, I believe, and even in the Sandman series, in much more "grown-up" presentation than the old black and white newsprint volume, which was more for kids in the original run (some of which I have). I hope to see it show up in some of the other comics I read too, now that this run is over.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maika

    I've been so thoroughly enjoying this series that it hadn't even dawned on me that there might be an actual end in sight. It came as a great surprise when I learned that Volume 8 contains the final collection of issues of the House of Mystery series. Having said that, the ending was very satisfying and entertaining. I cannot think of any loose ends that were left unresolved. While I was sorry to see the story reach its conclusion and will miss reading more about its characters, the ending felt w I've been so thoroughly enjoying this series that it hadn't even dawned on me that there might be an actual end in sight. It came as a great surprise when I learned that Volume 8 contains the final collection of issues of the House of Mystery series. Having said that, the ending was very satisfying and entertaining. I cannot think of any loose ends that were left unresolved. While I was sorry to see the story reach its conclusion and will miss reading more about its characters, the ending felt well-timed and was artfully executed. I'm also going to miss the cover art by Esao Andrews, which was exceptional throughout the series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shadowdenizen

    Ok, admittedly, this volume was somewhat of a let-down, and went out with more of a whimper than a bang. But that didn't at all dim my view of the series as a whole. Sure, [as with any series] some issues were stronger than others, but overall, I found the series did exactly what it set out to do, with relatively few deviations. But, what really sold me on this entire series was the characters; since the first issue, I was totally hooked. I enjoyed my travels with these characers, laughing, cringi Ok, admittedly, this volume was somewhat of a let-down, and went out with more of a whimper than a bang. But that didn't at all dim my view of the series as a whole. Sure, [as with any series] some issues were stronger than others, but overall, I found the series did exactly what it set out to do, with relatively few deviations. But, what really sold me on this entire series was the characters; since the first issue, I was totally hooked. I enjoyed my travels with these characers, laughing, cringing and crying along with them in their trials. I can't give a higher endorsement than that. I'd give the entire series a solid 3.5 (rounded up to 4.)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    While I retain mixed feelings about the series overall this was a nice ending to Fig's story. Yes, while the very end is quite like a Hollywood movie Sturges does provide closure for just about the entire cast that has gone through the House during its eight volume run. If you want to skip the other volumes you can and just read this one you'll be all right. Both the forward and a couple of exposition dumps will bring you up to speed. Do not expect much character development, but the pacing is we While I retain mixed feelings about the series overall this was a nice ending to Fig's story. Yes, while the very end is quite like a Hollywood movie Sturges does provide closure for just about the entire cast that has gone through the House during its eight volume run. If you want to skip the other volumes you can and just read this one you'll be all right. Both the forward and a couple of exposition dumps will bring you up to speed. Do not expect much character development, but the pacing is well handled and things move along to a climax.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chris Lemmerman

    A mind boggling and satisfying conclusion to the story, tying up loose ends from all the way back in issue 1. The two epilogue issues are also wonderful, though the final issue does feel a little tacked on; not that this detracts from the enjoyment, however. I'd recommend this entire series to all fans of comic books that keep you on your toes. I've not enjoyed a Vertigo series this much since I read Madame Xanadu.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David Skies

    All I have to say is: WHAT IN SEVENTEEN BLOODY HELLS HAPPENED TO LOTUS BLOSSOM BETWEEN VOLUMES SEVEN AND EIGHT!?!? Seriously, did I miss something? Suddenly she's jumped an easy half-decade in age and--oh, wait, if I've got my continuity right--somehow managed to do it BEFORE THE EVENTS OF THE PREVIOUS BOOK! It's a total brain-bender with no explanation offered. At all. But, yeah, other than that, it was okay.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    This mess of a series finally comes to a close... and I had nearly no investment in what happened to anyone (and half the time I didn't remember exactly what the heck was happening with certain characters). The odd combination of short stories mixed into a somewhat convoluted overarching story didn't ever make for a structure that was very compelling. They should have just made this a fun anthology style series because that seemed to be the most enjoyable parts of each volume.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    The final and most meta chapter in the story of the eponymous House and the stories it contains (which this time include a Darwyn Cooke-illustrated yarn of space adventure, and the whole series retold in precis in the style of The Room). People who object to tales with too many endings won't be happy - Lord of the Rings has nothing on this - but for me it all came together rather sweetly.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Venus Maneater

    Wow, okay. I'm very glad to see that Fig got her act together and put on her big girl pants to finally do what everyone was constantly saying she could do, but wouldn't. The ending feels a little too easy and I'm not feeling it for the character that only recently got introduced but played a very big fucking part in it. Some characters get the ending they deserve, some get a little more and some get a little less. It feels good, though. It feels done.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matt Sautman

    Much of what makes House of Mystery tick is its focus upon a meta-narrative. Albeit, there are a handful of volumes that I have missed along the way, but if all 8 were to be centralized within a core tome, it would be readily apparent that House of Mystery is more than just a collection of strange tales. It is a commentary upon the role of authorial construction and the role those constructions play after the author is no longer the sole owner of the work she or he created.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Appelcline

    A good conclusion to the series. The plot structure left me a little confused as to what was happening when, but that just makes me more desirous to go back and read the volume (and the rest of the series) some time in the future. Though the final story was great, the two epilogues may have been better.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    I'm reviewing the whole series since this was the final book. I really wanted to like it, mostly because of the little glimpses into the Sandman world... I can't really say I did though. I didn't care about the characters... or the story/stories. The three stars are for Cain, Abel, Goldie... and the other parts of Sandman that I wanted to revisit.

  25. 4 out of 5

    S.M.M. Lindström

    So, uhm, they've switched main characters I assume? Well, not quite, but with the story focusing so little on the "original main cast" that they might as well have. A few side-stories were interesting and the last issue was neat, but the "twist" of the story wasn't anything new and there were several sub-plots that were dropped, went nowhere or was summed up as quickly as they were introduced.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Y'know, if the writer didn't write so many self-deprecatory/apologetic lines about how his book was "middling" or how sorry he was we hadn't met some characters, and hadn't decided to have his entire ending hinge on a brand-new cast that got almost nil development, it might have been a decent ending. But he did, and it wasn't.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily Green

    The first volume in House of Mystery was amazing. However, as the house continued, the deeper the reader trod into the mystery, the less interesting it became. The final volume is more metafiction than magic.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Donald

    Finally finished up the House of Mystery, reading volumes 6, 7, and 8 over the last week (about two years after reading the first five). Didn’t enjoy the whole Summerland/Thinking Man bit as much, but the rest was a rollicking finish to the series, bravo!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jaimie

    Finally we see the end of this random series. The ending kind of makes sense, but I still don't really like how sloppy the jumped-around timeline is or how the stories all overlap in a barely-sensical manner.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    That wraps up this incarnation of the series... ...or DOES it?

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