Date Read: November 28 to December 4, 2015
Rating: 3 (of 5) stars
I wanted to love this book. I really wanted to love this book. I felt like there was potential for a good story here, but it fell way short of my expectations.
I have read a lot of comments on the book that the pictures were the best part… But I can only partially agree with that. The pictures were interesting. I like the concept of incorporating the pictures into the story. However, beyond the introduction of the characters in the earlier portions of the book, the inclusion really seemed forced – as if the author just added in little bits of unnecessary information just so that a picture could be inserted. Once the plot started to actually move, the pictures didn’t really seem to fit anymore.
Before going any further, I am issuing a major SPOILER ALERT. I try not to give away too much when I write reviews, but the nature of this next point makes it impossible. Plot holes. Plot holes left and right. If you want skip the potential spoilers, just go to the bottom of the numbered list.
1. How can Emma make a light underwater at the shipwreck, but not be able to make one in the rain?
2. How can Bronwyn carry a large metal door to use as a shield, and also swim in open water? Okay, so she has super-human strength… but she still needs to stay afloat!
3. The children are stuck in a loop. Only peculiars can enter loops. Why do some of the children have doubts that Jacob is peculiar after he has entered a loop?
4. If only peculiars can enter loops, why can wights enter loops? It explicitly says that wights are common, but also that they can (presumably) live for thousands of years. So which is it?
5. Why are the children in the loop only safe if they stay on the island? Because of the dangers off the island when the loop was created? If duplicates of those dangers still exist inside the loop, why don’t duplicates of the children also exist inside the loop?
6. I don’t even want to start with the time travel issues. So if the loop closes and the children are now in 1940, does that change the course of history for the “real” world? Are there now parallel universes operating? And that’s only the tip of the potential time travel iceberg!
And my final issue? The ending of the book was written in a way that almost requires a sequel. While I don’t mean to say that sequels are a bad thing, I think there is a difference between potential (somewhere for the story to go from here) and need (little or no resolution). I can also understand that sometimes an author just has more to say, and they plan for a book or idea to be a series. However, in this case, this timing seems off. The original book was published in 2011, and the next two released in quick succession in 2014 and 2015. That just seems like poor planning if this was always intended to be a trilogy. It feels more like the author decided that he wanted to make sure he could write a second book in case it became popular, but he didn’t really have an idea of what he could actually write about. But let’s just throw in a sort of cliffhanger, just in case.
Despite all my negative comments, I did not hate this book. I do not regret reading this book. Do I intend to continue reading the series? No.
As a final note, despite being disappointed by this book, I decided to watch the movie. Although I’m often skeptical of book to film adaptations, I will typically watch them. This one was interesting. It was true to the general story, but many of the details were adjusted. While this would normally frustrate me, I appreciated it this case. The adapters took some liberties and closed (or left out) some of those annoying plot holes! They even fixed the ending! I felt much more satisfied at the end of the film than I was expecting.
Boris’s Thoughts: “I suppose I can be on board with a book that has a bird lady in the title. 3 paws.”