Published by Feiwel & Friends on January 3rd 2017
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Romance, Young Adult
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Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.
Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever cost.
While this book was a fun, magical ride, it also didn’t really impress me that much. The premise is super unique, as the main character Amy discovers that she can jump into the stories of books, and her family has a duty to preserve those stories. The setting is on a picturesque island, away from the advanced technology of the modern ages. Despite these fun additions, I couldn’t really connect to the characters (as quirky as they were) and I felt like the author could have made them more empathetic, and develop other aspects that she implemented, such as the family dynamics and romance. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read while it lasted, yet not something I’d reread.
The very first thing we see is Amy Lennox traveling to an island in Scotland, where her mother ran away from at the age of 17. They’re essentially running away from Alexis’s break up with a man and Amy’s bullying incident at school, which never got resolved. We see that Amy is quite close to her mother, Alexis, who raised her by herself in Germany. However, I really feel like their mother-daughter relationship could have been explored more. As it is, I appreciate the addition of their kinship but didn’t quite have that empathy that arises while reading.
“To me, Alexis had always been one of the heroes. She was my role model, the mum who looked after me, the best friend who I could talk to about absolutely anything.”
This continues on towards other characters as well, such as the love interest Will and even Amy’s family, whom she meets at the island. All the intricacies of each relationship were set as a foundation, but never really got explored fully, which made my reading experience quite distant. Nevertheless, the mystery and magic plot is the main focus of the book and pretty satisfying to read.
When Amy discovers that she can jump through books, she also finds out that her family has the duty to protect those stories. However, someone’s been stealing ideas, such as Dorothy’s tornado in The Wizard of Oz. With the help of book characters such as Shere Khan from The Jungle Book and Werther from The Sorrows of Young Werther, Amy slowly unravels the mystery. I thought their friendship was really cute, and I would have loved to have seen more exploration on the different aspects of being a book jumper. You see all the book characters from different genres meeting up at a pub, or dying over and over again as part of their story. It sounds pretty fun! However, the stealing of ideas has altered some stories completely, which Amy tries to get to the bottom of.
“‘The core ingredients. The author’s initial ideas, without which a story simply breaks down. Somebody is sneaking around the book world stealing them.’”
There is another family living on the island where Amy goes to who also protects the books – but also whose family has a rivalry with hers. She ends up developing a relationship with Will, another book jumper whose actions have led to a Sherlock Holmes’s death. They work together to find out who’s trying to kill her, as well as stealing the ideas. While some aspects of the mystery were predictable, there were also delightful curveballs that the author threw at readers, causing some pretty nice twists and turns.
I really feel like I would have enjoyed this book if I were a couple years younger. It reads a lot more like an MG novel, but nonetheless I still thought it was a magical and fun ride. The resolution was pretty satisfying, although leaves some ideas rather open-ended. The relationship dynamics, stemming from friendship to romance to family, could have been expanded on in my opinion, but the central mystery, magic plot was definitely worth the read. Fantasy readers looking for a light, fun adventure should pick this one up!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Thank you MacMillan for the review copy!
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I agree! It was cute, and enjoyable enough in the moment, but lacking that extra something. I was disappointed by all the loose ends at the end too- not that it all had to be wrapped up in a bow, but there were whole plot points that were left hanging, which made me kind of mad- why include them at all then? I did LOVE the actual book jumping part though, I thought that was so fun! Great review!
Thanks so much Shannon! Totally agreed though, I feel like if there was another book some things could have been explored better. Like the ending was fine, but seriously – those loose ends tho. 😛
I thought this book was a lot of fun, but I have to agree with you when you say it reads more like a middle grade novel. I'm in my late 20's, so I probably would have enjoyed it even more as a teenager, but I really did fall for this book and the whole idea of jumping into stories regardless.
I hated the ending, though. It felt like it was rushed and it was left too open.
Glad to hear that you enjoyed it for the most part, and I loved your review!
TOTALLY A G R E E D with what you said about enjoying it at a younger age! I just feel like a lot of things could have been more fleshed out and that ending tho. That ending. :’)
Thanks so much!!
Man, I thought I was going to get this despite this review but I went on Goodreads and saw a bunch of negative reviews. What a shame 🙁
Aww, I still think the cover is beautiful and would look gorgeous on the shelf! And like I said, it's a quick and fun read but nothing TOO special, if you know what I mean. Or maybe just skim it in the library to see if you like it.
I absolutely love the cover for this book, it's so stunning! A shame that it wasn't all that well developed, it definitely sounds like a younger MG novel. Lovely review though Aila!
It definitely fit more into an MG audience than anything. I think I would've adored this book a bit more if I were a couple years younger perhaps!
I really like this idea and definitely sounds lovely, too bad it didn't quite impress. Glad to hear it was still a magical ride. Lovely review, Aila!
Thanks so much Cyn! I thought the author could have done a lot more with this idea as well, though it was still interesting in the end.
This book is physically stunning and the concept sounds amazing, but I don't think I've seen any reviews over 3.5 stars for it. It seems that everyone either didn't like it, or thought it was simply "okay"… therefore I think I'll skip it. I've been DNFing books more and more recently anyway, because who has time to force themselves to read books they aren't loving anyway? XD Great review!
Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles
Yeah, it's a good idea to skip this. I was really excited as well but came with diminished expectations because of the GR reviews. It was not a bad read, no, but nothing special, if you know what I mean.
Hmmm….I really was looking forward to this one! The cover is so gorgeous and sounds like every readers dream plot. Your review makes me second guess it, though. I'll probably still give it a chance, but just bump it down a few spots on my TBR haha Great review!
I still would recommend it for a fun fantasy adventure! But yeah, not on the high priority list or anything. It's a quick read, yet quicker to be forgotten.
I always skipped this book, not adding it in my wl, and I don't even know why. It simply didn't attract me. But this review made me change my mind, especially because of the fact that there are book characters as coprotagonist *.* It's so incredibly cool! Hope that there are more than two. I want five of them, at least
Haha, I really hope you like it when you get the chance to pick it up! I'm glad I changed your mind at it. 😀