I’d heard so much about this novel that I had to give it a try and decided to read it for my YA horror square. I’m glad I did because it was a lot of fun.
At the beginning Jacob is working for his families business. He’s trying to get fired because he’s so underwhelmed, but can seemingly be the worst employee known to man and not get fired because his family own it.
Jacob’s grandfather has always told him stories and shown him pictures of a time when he was younger and living with this strange mix of children who could do extraordinary things such as levitating, invisibility etc. Regardless of the photographic evidence(which could have been doctored) he refuses to believe these stories and assumes his grandfather is mad. It’s not a spoiler (it happens early on) to say that Jacob’s grandfather is killed and with his dying breath gives Jacob a cryptic message that must be deciphered in order to find out the identity of the killer and keep the family safe. This leads Jacob to take a trip to a Welsh island and unearth the secrets contained in an abandoned children’s home.
There wasn’t much depth to Jacobs’s character and what there was was mostly superficial, but I didn’t mind this because I was engrossed in the story. It was a simple story which I assume others will find lacklustre, but that’s exactly why I liked it so much. When a story’s as simplistic as this one, I like the characters to have more depth so as to make up for it, but in this case I didn’t mind. I think I was just charmed by the little elements of the story, such as the photos, the time-travelling and the array of quirky characters. You could talk all day about what this book was lacking, but I just liked how all the little details worked in their own right and were ultimately stronger when they came together.
I’m not in a rush to read the second instalment, but I will at some point because I really did enjoy this simple little fantasy tale.