Jacob’s grandfather use to spin some stories about his own World War Two childhood, some pretty strange ones…stories about the boy who could lift rocks with one hand and the girl who could fly. As he turns into a teenager, Jacob realises they couldn’t have been true. Could they?
An entertaining read from Ransom, based on some odd Victorian photographs he’s collected over the years, the basis of which pull the story along and illustrate it nicely. Some of the pictures are very odd and disquieting. Of particular note is a dentist with no pupils or irises, and the worlds creepiest Santa. I even bought the paperback so I could see the pictures better than on my Kindle. It’s a nice novelty for a story to see the frame it’s draped on, to see the process of turning pictures into a story.
There’s nothing wrong with Ransom’s characters, and his writing style is easy on the eye, flowing along nicely. The descriptions of the Welsh island where Jacob finds himself are all nicely done as well, lending a solid and realistic feel to everything. I would have probably commented more on the bi-lingual nature of Wales, but that’s just a minor point.
So why only two stars? The problem for me was that the story was remarkably…forgettable. I finished this three days ago, and I had to check the book to look up the name of the main character before I started this review.
Nobody stuck with me; I have no urge to see where the next two books are going, where the lives of the characters are taking them next. If you asked me to name Jacob's love interest or his fathers name, I couldn’t do it.