In this book we meet Jacob, a sixteen year old boy with a grandfather that has told him unbelievable stories about the orphanage he grew up in. He showed Jacob pictures of peculiar looking children that possessed different sort of gifts and he also talked about monsters as though they were real. As Jacob grows up he is told that there is nothing true to his grandfather’s stories, it is only a coping mechanism for what he experienced as a child during the war. Naturally Jacob is very disappointed and when his grandfather gets older and more and more paranoid he sees him not as the magical person he was in his upbringing but more as a delusional old man who needs to get into a home.
One day his grandfather calls him up and ask about the keys to his weapons cabinet (which the family has hidden so that he won’t hurt himself or someone else) and when Jacob tells him he doesn’t have it he gets angry and sounds even more paranoid. Jacob decides to go over to his house and finds his father missing. They go searching for him and find his body in the forest behind his house. He’s body looks mangled as from an animal, but suddenly Jacob sees a creature in the woods that looks anything but human.
After experiencing this (and having to tell the police and his parents what he saw) they believe him to be suffering from post traumatic stress and making it all up. He’s even told so by so many that he starts to believe it himself even though his nightmares about the creature comes back to haunt him every night.
After going through his grandfathers house and belongings he decides to go to Wales to see the orphanage that his grandfather lived in. He tells his psychiatrist that it is a trip to cope with all that has happened, but there is more to it than that. And what he finds will change everything.
I found this book to be much more than what I expected. All of the pictures and illustrations throughout the book is absolutely amazing and I was even more thrilled about the whole thing when I read that the pictures are real and only a few of them has had some minor editing to fit into the story.
Riggs writes in a captivating and fast paced way that gripped me from the very first page. The mystery and creepiness of it all made for a very different and interesting read. I felt like I was right there, next to Jacob, experiencing all of it with him.
There are lots of interesting characters in this book and a story very unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I really liked Jacob as a character and could definitely relate to that feeling of so strongly believing in something magical as a child and then one day having it torn away.
A fantastic story and an absolute beauty of a book! Highly recommend it!
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”
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I hope you enjoyed this review! Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below what you thought of it or if you have anything else on your mind 🙂