The blurb of this book intrigued me when I randomly saw it on Book Depository a few months ago. Then, when the movie came out and hype was everywhere – I decided to give it a read, even though it’s really teenage novel.
(I even had to go to the teenage section of the bookstore! Eek!)
I tore through this in only a few days. It was an interesting and addictive read. Also, might I mention, it was a little scary! Even for me – a grown adult. Then again, it doesn’t take too much to scare me.
In a nutshell: our main character is Jacob, a privileged and rather lonely 16-year-old. He witnesses the horrific death of his grandfather one day, spiralling him into a period of nightmares, depression and needing to see a psychologist to work through the ordeal. What haunts him more are the last nonsensical words his grandfather spoke to him. Then again, his grandfather was always spouting nonsensical things about monsters, and people thought he was losing it towards the end.
But as it goes, Jacob’s grandfather’s last words lead him to an island off Wales and into a time loop that takes him back to 1940. He meets the childhood friends of his grandfather’s and is propelled into a world of ‘peculiars’ – people with special powers who are hunted and killed by vicious monsters and ‘wights’. It turns out that Jacob is one of these peculiars himself, though he never knew it.
What lends this story such an eerie and interesting aspect is that Ransom Riggs complements it with real life photographs of the people in the story. These are real (or sometimes slightly manipulated photos) that lend the story a visual aid. Old photos are creepy as is, so when paired with this book things become a bit creepy and real.
I enjoyed this read. It’s a really different take on a fantasy novel and photos really add something special.
(I’ll see the movie some time too probably.)