This book review is part of my Blogtober celebration, my month-long blog party about all things creepy and Halloween-y! If you've got a fall-related post, make sure to add it to the Linky!
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Quirk Books
Keywords: magic, time travel, Europe
Format Read: purchased hardcover
This is going to be a challenging review for me because, upon finishing the book and contemplating it for several days, I'm still not totally sure how I feel about it.
I want to talk about what seems like the most obvious thing to talk about first: the photographs. They were stunning. The idea of composing stories around the old photographs Riggs found is super compelling to me, and honestly, it's why I picked up the book in the first place. I knew a lot of people had said it was phenomenal, but the photos are what did it for me. (side note, it even inspired me to let a teacher friend know about it, and she had her students write short stories based on old photographs like these! What a fun exercise!)
I found myself more interested in the stories of the individual characters than anything else, it seemed like. I loved the children's interactions with one another and watching them use the magical qualities they possess.
The part that I'm still unsure of was the actual story line of Jacob and the story of his family. There seemed to be so much hatred and drama in his family life, but the story kind of jumps us in the middle of it. It's explained along the way, but it all felt a little disjointed for me to fully feel tied in to the family. That's the same for how I felt about the children at the school. I liked them enough, but I never felt wholly invested in any of them (except Marcus, the invisible boy, and I got quite upset toward the end on this one). The writing flowed very well and seemed to explain everything, so I'm not sure why I never connected with any of the characters, really. I think it was because we never really learned anything about their personalities, only their quirks. Emma is mentioned more than the others, so I had an idea of who she was, but there was never really anything more descriptive than surface stuff and their magical talent they had.
I'm inclined to say I liked this book even though I didn't feel particularly connected to it. And I've steered clear of other reviews until I've gotten this all written because I know so many people have loved it. I didn't want to change my indecisive thoughts on it unconsciously. But it was still a strong story with a unique and new concept, and definitely worth it for October/creepy reading time.