This is possibly one of the most highly anticipated books I on my bookshelf, I absolutely loved book 1 and 2 (reviews here and here). Now, I would suggest if you want to read this and it was a while since you read book two, go back and read at least the last few chapters of book two to refresh yourself because I was lost. This book throws you right in at the action, immediately as the second book ends. This series would definitely benefit from a solid read-through over the course of a week or so.
As I said, this book throws you straight in at the action, and it starts at a really good pace. The problem is, it slows down. The sense of adventure was there throughout the book, and it did pick up again, but that initial loss of momentum threw me off a little. There are a number of new locations introduced in this book, each bringing with it a set of challenges and a new aspect to this rescue mission that Jacob and Emma are on; these places are incredible, and the descriptions were vivid enough that I didn’t even need the pictures alongside the words. The primary one, Devil’s Acre, really adds to the desperation that Jacob and Emma are feeling and I do love it when the setting adds to the mood of the book.
Once I reoriented myself with where I was and the characters, the story slowed considerably. There was also the issue of a lot of new characters being introduced at this late stage of the overall story, while I appreciate that sometimes that is necessary, all the characters introduced were forced and convenient. Not only that, but even the existing characters fell a little flat and lacked all depth; Jacob became conveniently amazing at harnessing his peculiarity and it was down to him to save all of peculiardom and all the others, well, they were pushed aside and I really hated that. The end was what annoyed me most. Don’t get me wrong, I love a book which ties up loose ends, but this book tied up all the ends in such a perfect little bow that it was infuriating. I like a happy ending, but this one took the biscuit.
Saying all that, I still enjoyed this book, and I really enjoyed the series as a whole. It’s by far and away one of the most unique book series I’ve read, the combination of antique pictures and such a vivid world just makes this so interesting. I absolutely cannot wait for the film which is due out sometime this year! I’d recommend this series highly for someone who wants something different, or something immersive but quite easy to follow. So yes, this is mighty fun in spite of the problems I had with it, they were just personal issues really. Don’t let those put you off.