This book was interesting. I was nervous about picking this up, I didn’t really know how the story and vintage pictures were going to work together, I wasn’t entirely certain how the plot was going to unfold but it wasn’t all that bad! It wasn’t what I was expecting, but that seems to be a recurring theme with books I read lately! There were flaws, of course, which I will expand on, but overall it was a pretty easy read. Easy to follow and a novel concept too!
I was expecting something a bit more creepy, I thought this book looked perfect for a spooky Halloween type read but it was not really all that creepy. It started out quite promisingly but veered off a bit. Also, I feel that it could have been so much more. It felt a little underbaked in parts, the plot could have been more developed and characters more fleshed out. Even Jacob seemed a little two-dimensional and the story was centred around him.
In summary, we follow Jacob – a 16 year old boy who has grown up with outrageous stories from his grandfather, stories of floating girls and invisible boys all living together on a little island off of the coast of Wales. As he grew up, he stopped believing and as his grandfather is showing signs of something like dementia his stories, those that he has always insisted are true, are even more unbelievable. It’s not until he finds his grandfather, severely injured and nearing death, that he finally takes his words seriously. The final words of his grandfather take him on an adventure where nothing is quite what it seems. Jacob ends up in Wales and his life changes; those stories his grandfather told him take shape and everything is put in to perspective.
My main issue with this book is the lack of personality. There was so much potential for development and instead, it seems that the main focus was the images and rather than working with them, Riggs is trying to let the pictures tell the story opposed to telling a story around the pictures. The characters were flat and lacked a lot of shape – I hope this is something that is rectified in the sequel. There was so much opportunity to take things to another level, characters stories could have been more explored… I can’t quite get across how sad I am that these things weren’t explored!
I think if this book were 50 pages longer, allowed to explore characters and plot just a touch more, it would have been amazing. A lot of it felt quite cliché, in parts quite predictable and that was a shame really. Overall, 3.5/5 and I will be searching for the sequel in paperback when it’s released in January!