I read this book between March 14th and March 19th and gave it four stars. I’m sure you know that these are uncertain times in the world and saying that I read this book for escapist purposes was an understatement. I watched the movie a few months ago, but I knew that it condensed the first three books in the series or something like that, so I was expecting something different. Adaptation-wise, I think it did a good job, although I can only speak for the parts pertaining to the first book. I would like, however, to have a movie series, each focusing on one installment because some elements were lost, which is understandable but sad nonetheless.
You know that if you add grandparents to a story, you basically got me hooked. This gave me similar vibes than My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman, although the fantastic elements are heavier and we don’t get to see a lot of the relationship between Jacob and his grandfather. It’s more like the main character is discovering what his grandfather’s life had been like.
If you’ve heard anything about this book, it’s probably that there are old pictures throughout it. I didn’t know there would be so many pictures; I thought we would have a few of the children at the beginning and that would be it, but no: if I’m not mistaken there are fifty pictures in just the first book. I wonder if the others have them as well. I think the author did a great job of creating a story using those old photographs.
Something else you might have heard is that this is an analogy of World War 2 and how Jews and people who were considered different were persecuted. Well, part of the story takes place during WW2, so I don’t know if it would be considered an analogy or a juxtaposition of the true events that happened in the world, that Jacob’s grandpa, Abraham had to witness and suffer because he was a Jew, and the war against “peculiars,” that also involved him because he had a special ability of seeing monsters nobody else could see. I think if anything, it brings great commentary on how “peculiars” are still being systematically oppressed, be it for their race, religion, ability or disability, gender, sexual orientation, or pretty much whatever the heteropatriarchy deems different.
The whole mood of this story is dark, and I felt like when reading this I was picturing an old movie in my mind that always has this opaque tone. There are a couple of violent scenes, and even when they are not, this novel is never happy. It took me a little bit longer than I had anticipated going through it, but I was satisfied with the ending. To me, the ending gives you the option to consider this a stand-alone if you don’t want to continue with the series, but if you do, it is open enough that you know something else is going to happen. That’s great for me because I detest cliffhangers.
If you know anything about my reading tastes, then you probably know that part of the reason why I enjoyed this book was that Jacob, the main character, was introduced to the whole peculiar thing at the same time as the readers were. That is, we learn what he learns when he learns it. That is the kind of fantasy novel I am into. What I wasn’t into was the whole romantic element in this story. Seriously, I’m not even going to explain it to you because I think it is kind of yucky and totally unnecessary and that is coming from someone who basically eats romance books.
Have you started reading any new series this year? Tell me about them in the comments below.
Love, Miss Camila