‘We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing them is too high..’ Jacob had grown up with his own fairy tales. A little peculiar but full of fantasy. These stories consisted of peculiar children and some more peculiar beings.
Ransom Riggs has woven a magnificent story about a young boy who comes to a realization that he is no ordinary boy. He can stir oceans and fight demons. Literally. This book has been on the list of all avid reads, for all good reasons.
The cover is a tiny glimpse of the story inside, a little girl who is levitating above the ground. The chalky font declares the genre. The book looks like a vintage art which goes with the stories and the photographs inside.
The book by itself is a well-designed product. The photographs take you to another world. Tiny embellishments gracefully adorn the pages inside. It is a good paperback for the book collectors for their shelves.
Jacob Portman always considered himself to be an ordinary child. Quite unpopular at his school, he was the punching bag of others. He has just one friend who was uncomfortable with Jacob’s lifestyle. Jacob decided that his life was going to remain ordinary when some extraordinary things started happening to him. Jacob is a strong protagonist in the book who always wanted to become an explorer and finally had a chance at it.
Grandpa Portman is an important character in the book which gives birth to the entire story inside. He was an extraordinary man. His stories always fascinated Jacob. He brought a spark of excitement in Jacob’s otherwise boring life.
There were other equally fascinating characters which are described with pictures in the book. They are all very interesting to read about. A little creepy, but interesting even so.
The book contains one of the most beautiful first lines in literature.
I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. The first of these came as a terrible shock and, like anything that changes you forever, split my life into halves: Before and After. Like many of the extraordinary things to come, it involved my grandfather, Abraham Portman.
Jacob is not a popular kid at school. His lifestyle is quite boring. The only thing that filled his days with some adventure were the stories from grandpa Portman. The stories of peculiar children. Now, when the history of the Portman boy was to be ever written, people would say it began the day when grandpa Portman died.
After the death of his grandfather, Jacob started following the breadcrumbs to his death only to discover the stories that he was told about were not just stories. They were all real. All of them. The last clue given to him by the old man leads him to the island of peculiar. What follows is a time loop, a girl who can produce fire and old lost love.
The book begins from being curious to outrageously fascinating. The slow transition of the normal world to that of fantasy is quite convincing, like what else would you expect other than a couple of extraordinary kids and a grave which transports you to another time. The story is full of surprises, each clue opens a new mystery, small fragments linking each other in the story. It is a great read throughout. There are some great descriptions of the setting which will immediately make you google it and visit the place, a beautiful bookshelf that you will want to own and reference to a fairy tale.
The language is simple and narration is engrossing. One would find himself completely drowned in the world of Ransom Riggs. There are some great lines in the book which is going to be quoted often. Ransom Riggs also paints a vivid picture of the places inside the book. It makes you want to visit them, but sadly, they are just fragments of imagination.
The cover page is beautiful. It demands a space on the bookshelf for the book. The content inside is even better. The photos and the text complement each other. They help the imagination of the reader, convincing the reader further about the story inside, should there be any doubt. The characters are one of their own kind. They are all curious to read about. The author breathes life into them with his amazing narration.
There is a slight hiccup towards the end of the story when Jacob decides to let his dad know that he is not coming back with him. The approach seems to be little exaggerated. It sadly doesn’t convince the reader. But as they say, writer’s will.
Overall it is a wonderful story of a boy who was looking for something extraordinary in his life, but realized that it was him that was extraordinary. It is a great read.
Who do I recommend this to
This book is for young adult fans. All those who enjoy a bit of fantasy and time travel are going to love this one. It also makes a great Halloween read.
The peculiarity for which they’d been hunted was simply their Jewishness. They were orphans of war, washed up on that little island in a tide of blood.
All I could think was that grandfathers were supposed to die in beds, in hushed places humming with machines, not in heaps on the sodden reeking ground with ants marching over them, a brass letter opener clutched in one trembling hand.
Then again, it’s easy to say you don’t care about money when you have plenty of it.
I underwent a brief interrogation about how I’d gotten to the house and who had taken me there, and because the easiest kind of lying is when you leave things out of a story rather than make them up, I passed with flying colors.
That we would be easy kill was the only reason we weren’t dead already; like a gourmand about to enjoy a fine meal, there was no reason to rush things.
I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary.
The day was warm, but cool breeze came off the water, and I could’ve happily towed for hours. I wondered how such calm could belong to a world at war.