WARNING: This review may contain excessive (and possibly incorrect) use of the Welsh language. Diolch.
Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Woaaah. Also, the sequel is going to be bendigedig!
TERRIFYING. Originality. Kick-ass taids! Creepy but adorable children. Fairy tales… or are they? WW11. Cymru. Culture and heritage. Time-travel. Crumbling old houses. League of Gentlemen-esque locals. Ghosts, spooks and fire-throwers, OH MY. And, my favourite part of this book, the beautiful photos. Looking at them reminded me of the time where my grandma and I spent a rainy day in summer going through old snapshots. Everything looks better in sepia, right?
I don’t mean to belittle Jacob (the MC) or challenge his intelligence, or any other sixteen year old’s intelligence for that matter, but I have never met a sixteen year old boy who would use the word “torpor” in a sentence. Unless of course it was ‘Um… what does ‘torpor’ mean?!’ I’m supposed to be educated (pahaha)and there were some moments where I had to balance an Oxford Dictionary on my knee!
There were quite big chunks of descriptive paragraphs that, although beautifully written, I found it difficult to believe that Jake would really say things like that.
And speaking of outrageous horror that filled my being with cringe…. The love story? WHAT THE HECK. Just no… but more on this later.
Besides his flowery language and horrifying taste in women, I liked Jacob. He was adventurous (because even though I would’ve thought it was cool, there is no way on earth I would have gone into that house. If I was the MC in this story, it would have been a very short book that would have ended with me sulking in the airport while my dad yelled “And you couldn’t have realised you were a wimp before we travelled a million miles to an island in the middle of NOWHERE?”), he is funny and he has the right amount of “Um, OK this is bizarre” moments that a lot of YA heroes seem to forgo in order to be all macho.
But, there were times that I didn’t really like him and didn’t agree with the decisions that he made throughout the novel. And also, he’s a pretty crappy son/grandson. Just sayin’.
BUT, I still love love loved this book and I think that Jake will be a much better hero in the inevitable sequel and I will be more inclined to root for him and be ready with fist-pumps and pom poms and the occasional high kick.
I.. I just can’t deal with this. I honestly can’t think of any situation where this love affair would be acceptable. Even the gooiest of romantics would find this stomach-churning. It’s just weird. I’ll let you make up your own decision.
Holy guacamole. This book is soooo creepy and the baddie(s) do NOT disappoint. It was only in the final few chapters that we really got to meet them and find out about what they were after but argh, they were scary. I know I keep mentioning the sequel… but I really think with a little more detail and development these guys are going to make themselves known…. In my nightmares.
I would like to see Jake’s friends. They are the coolest kids ever. Kind of like if the lost boys (the originals… not the mulletted vamps) joined forces with the X-Men. YEAH. It’s that cool.
7/10. It would probably be a 15 if I included the angst I felt every time the love sauntered on the page, but this isn’t about me. This is about Jake and peculiar children who deal with angst in different and better ways than I. There are a lot of sadness and bitter-sweet ‘what ifs?’ in this book that made my heart hurt, especially concerning Abe, the sweetest grandpa ever.
One of the things I loved most was the subtlety of Riggs’ writing… the true horrors of the book are only alluded to and allowing you to fill in the blanks. There is definitely a melancholic feel to this book and I felt like I was watching an old movie where you know that there isn’t going to be a happy ending.
That may sound like a bad thing…. But it’s not at all, because the old movies are the best ones, right?
People who are fascinated by old photos and could spend full days just looking through them. People who don’t mind being completely creeped out by their reading material. People who love the 1940s. People who love time travel in books. People who don’t really care for time-travel because it hurts their head to try and figure it all out (like moi), it’s really easy to understand and it’s exciting! People who have always wondered what happens behind the doors of the shambling mansions that loom on stormy Welsh mountains. People who don’t mind love stories that would be perfectly at home in the pages of a book written by Virginia Andrews. People who don’t experience involuntary muscle spasms whenever the words ‘bog’ and ‘man’ are mentioned in the same sentence….cheers for that Seamus Heaney *twitch*. People who are patiently waiting for their own peculiar powers to kick in… any day now, Jo. Any day.