This book was one big challenge for me and I don’t just talk about its 470 pages, groan. Sometimes I have trouble to read books with 200 pages in a reasonable time, but almost 500 pages would be the death of me, so smart as I sometimes am I decided to also get the audio version of the book with it.
As I started this book I wasn’t sure what to expect, knowing other books of the author which are more to the funny side of fantasy life. It didn’t take to long for me to get into the story, whereas I had to accustom first to the back and forth switching between the then and now. While disturbing a bit for me at first it had been pretty clear after a while that; to understand the present, you must first understand the past. I fell in love with Max pretty quickly, and my heart was bleeding for him on so many levels. I think I never was reading a book before where I would have wrapped the main character in cotton wool and commit a murder without blinking an eye. At almost 12 years old, Max is used to be left alone to deal with his nightmares, “seizures and hallucinations”. After moving to Ravencrest and finding friends like Jonas, Cassandra and not to forget Chance it seems like things are getting different, or not… As if it wouldn’t be enough to deal with psycho babbles and an uncaring mother, there is Derek who also makes life difficult for him on a daily base.
I really enjoyed the parts where Max had been allowed just to be the typical 12 year old boy, with not much care in the world, while hanging out with his friends in the CONUNDRUM Café, carving pumpkins, or being close to his first crush Chance. Even though the book was more on the serious side, there also had been some parts that made me chuckle or even laugh out loud. I just loved the Sisters Grimm and absolutely could see them starring in Ian Cadena’s Hard Boy series and am sure that would be hilarious. The only thing I really hated was the last two chapters and epilogue, but it wouldn’t be a series if it wouldn’t stop with a very heart stopping cliffhanger.
Altogether I think this book was a Masterpiece! I could tell that there was a lot of research done for this book and after reading it I’m more convinced than ever about the authors writing skills. I’m just happy that I waited so long for to read it, because now I hopefully won’t have to wait long for the sequel to come out. As for the audio book; I switched back and forth between reading and listening to the book. I was more than happy to learn that Mr. Cadena himself spoke the book on audio, first of because I think there is no better way/person to bring out the emotions of a book like the writer himself and second because I always like to have a voice to the face. Speaking of, I really liked the voice and its slang very much, though for some words I had to double check while reading. One English is not like another and being more used to the Canadian English some words had been a whole new experience for me.