Holy hell, creepy levitating child-flapper. Only you would catch my attention in the midst of BEA’s eye-feast. They didn’t have any copies on hand, but long story short I accidentally requested two copies, because I have a memory like a salad-spinner. When the first one came I passed it along to my sister, all You read this now and I will read the one that is surely right behind, but then the Canada Post strike STRUCK and then when the package finally came I wasn’t home and then when the package finally came and stayed my Tall One took a fancy to it and SWIPED IT, all of which to say that the hooks were well tentered by the time I had it in MY own grabby hands.
Ok so, Young Jacob’s grandfather tells him stories of how he had to flee Poland, which was positively lousy with ‘monsters’ and then went to war to fight those ‘monsters,’ and you are like, I recognize a thinly-veiled Nazi when I see it. But then maybe two pages later Jacob figures out for himself that it’s the Nazis and you don’t feel half so clever, and then the Nazis drop out of the picture altogether and you are like, derrr.
But grandfather’s stories also contained fantastical elements, like mouth-tentacles on the monsters, and then an orphanage of levitating/invisible/shape-shifting children (it’s basically this:
) and Jacob laughs them off because he is older now. But then grandfather is attacked by a THING and by the time Jacob gets to him he is all, *gasp* should have told you *hack* no time *rattle* find the bird and the loop etc. and then dies! Jacob, you have a quest, son.
So Jacob finds a letter and goes on a quest vis a vis the orphanage and my friend Alicia is always like, You spoil every book you review, so I tell you NOTHING ELSE except that for seventy years it was the last day of their lives. It’s a tagline, it can’t possibly be a spoiler, but it’s what GOT ME.
Oh and also? Abandon all hope, ye who prefer ye’s novels to end with All The Things done. This one ends with Various Protagonists setting off on another quest, maybe as sequel-bait but maybe just as nuts to your expectations.
And then, unexpectedly, it is hilarious. Not like, HELLO I AM A VERY FUNNY BOOK PLEASE SEE MY JOKES AND IGNORE THE LACK OF CONTENT! But like, Behold this story I have to tell, which I will augment with wit. Ransom Riggs, I want to kiss you on your clever mouth.
And have I mentioned the photos? It’s riddled with vintage found photographs that Riggs and his cronies have unearthed. The photos are worked in in a way that feels like they came from the story, and not vice versa. And they’re SPOOKY. And you say, but Raych, you are a sissy. This is correct, this thing you have said, and while I would let any 12-year-old of mine give this book ago (provided they are sterner of stuff than 12-year-old Raych), there were a few photos that gave me the fantods even in broad daylight, like THIS ONE:
Right? (Can you see that he has no eyes? He has no eyes, amigos.) And ok so it was mostly that one, and then one of a creepy Santa and the rest are just sort of unsettlingly odd, but right when I got to this photo a THING FELL in the other room and I was almost not writing this review (on account of being dead [from the fright, not the thing, which was a phone charger and not terribly dangerous]).
It is probably for the best that the book gods spat down two copies upon me, so that my sister and I aren’t fighting over who gets to keep it. There would be slapping.
Requisite ass-covering: book(s) received from publisher. AND I know this is unlike me lately but this book is actually out already, and you can read the first three chapters here. YOU’RE WELCOME.