My first book review for you all. Depending on how fast I read, please enjoy these reviews on occasion! I hope you find a book you enjoy (:
After finishing this book, I was trying to remember how I stumbled upon it and why I thought it would be excellent. Then I remembered I had found a list of movies being made into books in the (near) future, and it had been on there. So naturally, thinking that books with movie deals automatically makes them awesome, I placed the hold at the library immediately.
Creepy – almost disturbing – vintage photos, a mysterious island, and an abandoned orphanage. And a boy with stories his WWII-veteran grandfather told him. All intriguing aspects that make for a thrilling premise and a page-turning read. In this Young Adult novel, Ransom Riggs combines photography and narrative to create a story anyone with a curious taste for the strange would enjoy. Follow sixteen-year-old Jacob as he sets out in the wake of a family tragedy to figure out the mystery of the island and the answers behind the photographs of his memories. As he explores the rotting home, one thing becomes clear – these “peculiar” children may have been – or be – more than they seem.
The premise sounded – and moreso looked – so promising. The photos was so intriguing in and of themselves that I wondered how this book could be classified as Young Adult. Maybe I’ve seen too much “American Horror Story” and so my expectations were too high, but this book is actually not as scary as it seems.
I don’t want to give away spoilers, and I also don’t want to turn you off from this book. The concept made it worth the read, and the story is fun. It felt like it could have been for a younger audience given the characters’ voices, but there were some frightening aspects that did, in fact, remind me of horror. But it just didn’t take the cake for me. The narrative seems to have been formed around the photos (dispersed throughout the inside to illustrate characters), instead of the photos just supplementing the story. It was as if Riggs had found a list of photos and tried painstakingly to fit them all into the story.
Turns out, that’s sort of what he did! But some of the photos just don’t make sense, others are not even ever explained. That bothered me to no end. I would have been more intrigued with the real stories behind the photos, rather than an adventure story about hybrid children with super powers. And the WWII bit didn’t help one bit. Being somewhat of a history buff, I just didn’t see how it all fit. Three out of five stars. For a debut novel, I think Riggs did a decent job. I, however, will not be reading the sequels.
I wouldn’t highly recommend, but if you want to satisfy your curiosity, it’s not completely a waste. And there’s always the movie!