The motif is simple, tried and true: a child climbs into a dark and mysterious attic, finds an old dusty book, opens the covers and is immersed in magical golden light. The child is then carted off to untold adventures and thrills. Is that not the fantasy of all young readers?
As a child, Jacob was thrilled by his grandfather’s tales of a mysterious island, children will magical, special powers, and adventures fighting monsters. Jacob especially loved the old photographs his grandfather had of some of these children. Then, of course, as always happens, little boys with quick imaginations grow into rational, disbelieving 16 year-olds. Jacob comes to learn that the island was a last-ditch effort during World War II by his great-grandparents to save their son. And the monsters, well, those obviously were the Nazis Grandpa fought in the war. As for the photographs, they were just cheap parlor tricks. Believable enough for a kid, but quite transparently fake for a teenager.
However, when Jacob’s grandfather is horrifically killed, Jacob is forced to reexamine all he knows, or what he thinks he knows. His search takes him to a foggy fishing village off the coast of Wales, and right into a fantasy adventure of his own.
This was a very enjoyable, quick read of fictional fairytale styled fantasy. One bonus to this book is that the story is carried along by antique photographs that play well into the story. This is a fitting book for high school aged readers, but also for adult fiction lovers. Beware, there is a mild amount of swearing in this book.