This book was nothing at all like I expected it to be. I’ll admit that I thought it was going to be a kind of ‘carnival-freak’ book, where all the weirdness is exploited and glamorized into something sexy and cool, but it wasn’t like that at all. And I’m very glad that it wasn’t.
What I liked about this book (well, one of the things I liked about this book) was the sense of normalcy about the peculiar children. They just are what they are, and though they are different, they still go about their day to day lives in relative normality.
Things are different in their world, but the parallels between our own were interesting to me. What makes a monster? Does it have to be a “monster”, or can it be a man who does monstrous things? I liked that the setting, 1940s Wales, made the point rather than the characters or the narrative. It was subtle and well done.
I really enjoyed all of the characters, and especially enjoyed the 1st person narration. Jacob, our narrator, was surprisingly funny at times, and I really enjoyed seeing things through his eyes. The concept and the world that Riggs set up here was fascinating to me, and the integration of the old photos worked beautifully within the story. The writing was perfect, descriptive without being flowery. The pacing was great, and the creepiness (mainly in the beginning) sucked me in right away. Reading this on my nook, the images would appear without warning, and many of them were creepy enough to startle me. I liked it. 😀
My one complaint is actually that I thought that the antagonists, the hallowgasts and wights, weren’t really scary enough, and the explanation of what they are was kind of meh. It would have been better to have had no explanation than the one that we got. I also don’t really understand the hierarchy of the hallowgast/wight relationship, so that was an issue for me, too.
That’s really my only complaint though. I really did enjoy reading this, and I’m fairly certain that there will be a sequel soon. Should be interesting!