LOVED IT! LOVED IT! LOVED IT! By the way... did I mention that I loved it?!?! Very "Tim Burton-esqe"! I can totally see Johnny Depp and Helena BonhamLOVED IT! LOVED IT! LOVED IT! By the way... did I mention that I loved it?!?! Very "Tim Burton-esqe"! I can totally see Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter playing lead roles in the MOVIE that 20th Century Fox has already bought the rights to! I've also noticed several reviewers comparing it to Lemony Snicket's style of writing. I can certainly agree with those comparisons. I'm telling you... this is the next big book! It's refreshing, different, intriguing, interesting, funny, scary, innocent... I could keep going!
Ok... I think I've done enough gushing! =) Let's get on with the review.
The book starts off in present day with Jacob, who is around 16 years old. He is bored with his priveleged life. He is very close with his grandfather and has grown up listening to stories about his childhood. Jacob was amazed and in awe of his grandfather's exciting life and looked up to him for it. He hung on every word the man said. His grandfather's stories were on the "fairy story" side... full of tales about peculiar children with abnormal abilities living in a big house guarded over by a bird. As Jacob grew older, he began to accept them as being just that, fairy stories.
Then one day his grandfather dies unexpectedly after being attacked. Jacob is the one who finds his grandfather. Right before he passes away, he tells Jacob a cryptic message that causes him to want to learn more about the place where his grandfather grew up.
Jacob goes on a trip, along with his father, to a small island off England where his grandfather spent time in a children's home after we was exiled from Poland during the second World War. This is the place where many of the "fairy stories" Jacob grew up listening to occurred. Here, he hopes to learn more about his grandfather and hopefully the cause of his death.
Included in the book are old, vintage photographs that the author Ransom Riggs selected from the collections of muliple photograph collectors. These pictures are incorporated into the story and really add a lot to it! Don't worry... they don't make it seem like a picture book.
I really loved the way this book was written. I was able to visualize the story in my head so much so that I felt as if I was watching a movie! However, there was not so much descriptive writing to the point that it felt like the story line drug. Ransom Riggs did a great job of balancing out the descriptions while still keeping the plot moving along. There are tons of twists and turns. The plot goes to unexpected places that you never see coming. The cliffhangers are well done. I was not able to put this book down... and it has been quite a while since I've found a book that did that to me.
The ending leaves you with a small cliffhanger, suggesting that there may be a sequel. I feel like Ransom Riggs has done a great job with this book... it is especially impressive that this is his first novel. I hope everyone will check it out!...more
I'm so excited that my first book review of 2011 is a FIVE STAR BOOK!! Oh yes - this book is definitely full of awesomeness! =)
So this book might be cI'm so excited that my first book review of 2011 is a FIVE STAR BOOK!! Oh yes - this book is definitely full of awesomeness! =)
So this book might be considered historical fiction - eh, maybe not. It is set in the late 19th century (I think). The time period is great for the story - but it is not a focus in the plot. The story can just as easily take place in a more current time period. The main thing that reflects the 19th century time period is the speech and "voice" of Lia the main character. So if you are participating in the historical fiction challenge, this may not count for that challenge. It is definitely more of a paranormal type genre, rather than historical fiction. But I'm counting it as one of my books for that challenge - so if you think I should not let me know. Thanks =)
Now on to the plot... The main character is Lia. She is around 16 years old. She has a twin sister, Alice, and a younger brother named Henry. The three of them come from a wealthy family. However, they have recently become orphans. Their mother died when they were all much younger. And recently, their father died under mysterious circumstances. The three of them are currently living under the care of their Aunt Virginia (mother's sister).
The story begins shortly after the death of their father. Lia is coping with the loss, when strange things begin happening in her life. She is experiencing strange, yet realistic dreams, an odd marking has appeared on her wrist, and her twin sister Alice is behaving differently. Lia soon comes into contact with some other girls her age who are able to help her begin to unravel the mystery of what's happening to her.
She discovers that she is part of a centuries old prophecy that involves both her and her sister Alice. According to Lia, the two of them have never been close sisters, but they certainly did not consider each other enemies. However, all of that is about to change, because the prophecy is going to put them on opposing sides. One good, one evil.
My thoughts... Alright, so I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into when I began reading this book. All of the reviews and the synopsis really do not give any clues as to what exactly this prophecy is... and I'm not going to either! Finding out is half the fun! So I do not want to spoil that for you. I will just say that once I found out, I was immediately intrigued and interested in all of the possible directions this story line could take. And I was not disappointed! I kept getting reminents of the same feelings I felt while reading Dan Brown's The Davinci Code. I'm not saying this book is anything like Dan Brown's, just that I felt a similar sense of excitement while reading both books.
This is a great story. Usually, I am left with a disappointing feeling when I read the first book of a series. This is because I am left with so many unanswered questions! And I hate that feeling! I want to know the answers!! lol This book did not leave me with that feeling. I was completely satisfied with the journey and answers that were discovered in this first installment. And I am stoked about reading the next!
I really like the characters! I have no complaints there. At first, I was on the fence about Lia, but by the end of the book I really sympathized with everything that she was going through. I bought into all of the characters.
I was a little concerned after reading the first 7 chapters of the book. Chapters 1-7 mostly give you background information into the characters lives. There is very little insight into the main conflict of the plot. Then in chapter 8 she really dumps a lot of information on you! I was worried that I might not be able to keep it all straight. But as you continue reading, a lot of the information is restated, which I was grateful for. This really helped to keep me from getting confused. I've read novels before where I felt like they unload all of the pertinent informaiton to the story line on you at one time, then never revisit it again. I would have to constantly flip back in the book to make sure I was understanding everything correctly. This is not the case with this book, thank goodness!
Michelle Zink does a pretty decent job with the cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. They certainly made me want to continue on reading. I think that its important for authors to give the reader frequent cliffhangers. I think that is what leaves the reader with a satifying experience. Suzanne Collins does an awesome job of this in The Hunger Games series, and I think Michelle Zink is doing just as a commendable job in this book as well!
There are lots of twists and somewhat unexpected suprises! I say "somewhat" because this is what kept happening to me as I read: I would guess the suprise! I would guess in pages and pages before it actually came to fruition. But as I continued reading, I would start to convince myself that what I guessed what wrong. Then just when I was certain that I had guessed wrong - Bam! I'd find out I was actually right! So I can't say that this book is predictable. Because even though I was correctly guessing most of the twists and turns - I was also constantly second guessing. Haha This made for a even more interesting reading experience, in my opinion. And there certainly were a few twists that I never saw coming.
The end of the book does get quite emotional and I even teared up. I usually can't say that about a paranormal novel... but this one got to me.
I highly recommend this book! YA lovers, paranormal lovers, mystery lovers, historical fiction lovers, romance lovers, suspense lovers, action lovers, complex heroine lovers - there is something in here for everyone!