Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books (June 7, 2011)
As a kid, Jacob formed a special bond with his grandfather over his bizarre tales and photos of levitating girls and invisible boys. Now at 16, he is reeling from the old man's unexpected death. Then Jacob is given a mysterious letter that propels him on a journey to the remote Welsh island where his grandfather grew up. There, he finds the children from the photographs--alive and well--despite the islanders’ assertion that all were killed decades ago. As Jacob begins to unravel more about his grandfather’s childhood, he suspects he is being trailed by a monster only he can see.
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It had been a while since I was last excited about a book; and this definitely had snagged my attention. Maybe it was something to do with the 3 chapters they had released for early reading that had me wanting more; or perhaps the promise of a truly creepy story that involved an abandoned house, odd children (come on, don’t kids in horror movies/stories creep you out?) and the idea that this might be one amazing book. Yet despite the good promise of the storyline, after getting the book, I can’t help but be slightly disappointed at the mediocre book which failed to ignite my fire. I wish it was otherwise.
Analysis of plot:
The book told the story of a boy, his granddad and the stories he told him about peculiar children. Following which, one night, our main character, Jacob witnesses the horrific death of his Granddad in the woods behind his backyard – yet the murderer wasn’t a pack of animals as the police claimed it to be. Jacob knew he had seen a monster from his Granddad’s past and after many failures of seeing psychiatrics, Jacob set out to a remote Island his Granddad spoke of in search for answers.
Up until then, the author Riggs has you attuned to every word as the reader starts the journey which promises creepy events and in the end an amazing answer and discovery. Yet after reaching the Island, the story starts to waver as the plot dives down. Despite a few discoveries, there are no major events that bring a gasp to your mouth. Instead, readers are stuck in a loop (every pun intended if you’ve read the book) and the twist in the story, instead of bringing a climax, makes the readers slightly confused.
The trip to the Island provides answers to some of Jacob’s main questions yet his trip brings into focus a past and time his Granddad has left behind yet Jacob becomes embroiled in it, and you can’t help but wonder how a teenage boy from the present time period can get involved into the past. The author’s writing despite being attentive at first, fails to capture the rest of your imagination as the book goes on as despite there being instances of description, I couldn’t find myself literally imagining the sense as they happened.
Perhaps all that could have been bared had the ending been dramatic and empathetic, yet I was sorely disappointed with it and this coloured any good points I had about the book. The ending almost dangles, as a new problem arises with Jacob and the new friends he has made yet that’s it – they set out to solve a problem and this leaves us without any answers, wondering what happens and not in a speculative way but simply asking “so what happened?”
Analysis of characters:
My favourite character was probably the Granddad who appeared for only a bit of the book – that’s saying something. While Jacob was the usual teenage kid, there was nothing special about him and how he behaved. While this may be on the authors attempt to make a realistic character and how he may realistically deal with the events in the book, it failed to impress me still and that’s a shame as I could have seen Jacob as being a tremendous character given the right attributes within the book. The rest of the peculiar children that Jacob comes to befriend, were interest and the talents they had were different and therefore interesting.
I give props to the author Riggs for coming up with a supremely hooking and eye –catching storyline yet his execution of the book didn’t bring it up to my standards. This idea could have been amazing and I wish I could feel differently about this book but I was disappointed and that is all. On the other hand, the cover, the chapter layout, the vintage pictures used throughout were gorgeous and the only redeeming quality to this book. I’ll love the book for that, just not for the writing. Thanks to Quirk books however for giving me this for review.