When he was growing up, Jacob’s grandfather would tell him stories of children he grew up with in an orphanage; children who all had special abilities. He would even show him pictures of the children - a girl who could levitate, a boy holding up a boulder, a boy with a mouth on the back of his head. In order to try to come to terms with not only his grandfather’s death but who his grandfather was, Jacob travels to try to find the orphanage and find out more about his grandfather’s past.
I adored this book. Not only is the story well paced, charming, and interesting, but it was an entire textile experience. The photos described in the story are interspersed throughout the text. If he references a title page of a book, the next page is that title page. The first page of a new chapter is just a beautiful pattern. Even just the feel of the pages and weight of the book added to the feeling that it was precious and special, so much so that I took special precautions to preserve the integrity of the binding and avoid curling the pages.
I had heard bits and pieces about this story before I picked up the book, and I was expecting more of a horror story, but while there are dangerous creatures, it reads more as an adventure story. As a quest. In fact, when I was describing the plot to Adam, he asked “so, basically, a more interesting Percy Jackson?” Obviously, not quite true, as this book is first person from only one perspective, it doesn’t involve gods or demigods etc., but a grandiose, daring quest story? Yup.
The only frustrating thing for me with this story was how very well it set up the sequel. It isn’t that the ending wasn’t done well, because it felt like a natural close, like the end of a chapter as opposed to an abrupt stop, but it was frustrating because I want to know the rest! Hollow City, here I come! (After I tackle this to-be-read shelf first of course.)