★ ★ ★ ★
I began this book without having read a synopsis or seeing the movie trailer, so didn't really know what to expect. What I did do first was read the interviews with he author at the back of the book (they came with the edition photographed and should be listed on the back cover in 'bonus features'), which I recommend.
This book is the result of a photograph collection passed on by Riggs' grandfather, containing many eerie photographs, mostly involving children. Riggs continued the collection and wrote this book series to give the people in the photographs (the 'peculiar children' and comrades) a story.
The book is slightly complex, but balanced with a cool level of kookiness, and I found myself absolutely immersed in the first half of this novel, not wanting to leave its world or its characters and needing to learn more.
To be honest I would have happily read a whole book just on the low-key adventures of these children because unfortunately, the book lost me towards the end when the action started to happen. While I love a good plot twist, I felt that things began to seem quite far-fetched, with too many surprises piling on top of each other, and quick, 'easy-way-out' solutions in between.
Also, knowing that Riggs comes from a cinematic background, I expected to be able to visualise the action scenes, but this didn't happen - instead they were rushed and needed more description. If Riggs had doubled the length of the ending, I think he would have been able to give the scenes the magic they needed as well as making them more plausible and easier to follow. I do feel like I will need to see the movie to bring those final scenes to life.
In saying this, because the start of the book was unlike anything I've ever read, and due to the origin of the novel and Riggs' wacky ideas, I feel attached to this series, and would like to read the other books.