Summary: Pastworld. A city within a city. A city for excursions and outings. Pastworld is a theme park with a difference, where travellers can journey back in time for a brush with an authentic Victorian past. But what if the Jack the Ripper figure stopped play-acting and really started killing people?
For Caleb, a tourist from the present day, his visit goes terribly wrong when his father is kidnapped and he finds himself accused of murder. Then Caleb meets Eve, a Pastworld inhabitant who has no idea the modern world exists. Both Caleb and Eve have roles to play in the murderer's diabolical plans - roles that reveal disturbing truths about their origins.
I was sent a copy of the paperback, which was just released here in the UK a few days ago, to review and I'm really glad because honestly, this isn't the kind of book I'd normally pick up on my own and I would've missed out on a really awesome story.
It was strange, I was hooked from the start but at the same time it took me a while to feel totally caught up in the story, like there was something holding me back from getting attached to it but the mystery kept me turning pages because I couldn't not know what happened.
The alternating POV's might have been what was bothering me in the beginning (because I'm not usually a fan of too many changes in narrator and narration style), at times I would find myself wanting to skip through certain ones to get to my favourites, like Eve's, but then I literally couldn't do that because the mystery--even in the POV's I wasn't too fond of--was addictive.
I will admit that this book is more plot driven than character driven, I didn't feel a particularly deep connection to the characters (although, I did have a soft spot for Bible J and Jago) and sometimes it seemed like certain characters parts were just thrown in there to further the plot... but then I would remember the very first part of the book, where it explains that the story is supposed to be told as if it's an account of actual events with different recollections from different people used to document the story and that almost-detachment from the characters made sense because of that and I liked the story more for it.
The Fantom... he was really interesting, I liked him a lot -- in the sense that he was one of those awesome story villains. His crimes were surprisingly gory for a YA book but I liked that aspect of the story - not because I'm particularly fond of gory stories, but the fact that the author didn't feel the need to sugarcoat for his audience.
The story itself is really original and one of the strangest I've read (and I admit, it is one I would probably really love to see as a movie). I mean really, imagine a future where the past was a theme park? It was so strange, this weird mix of the future and history and the two seemed to collide perfectly. I adored Ian Becks writing, the way he described Pastworld London made it seem so real and it was easy to imagine what it would be like to be there, walking down those streets.
Sorry, this review is a little scattered but it's one of those books that is quite complex and I have so much to say about it that it makes it difficult to say anything about it (which is a compliment to the book) and I don't want to give spoilers because the mystery was one of my favourite things about the book.
To make up for my review that leaves a lot to be desired, I'll just say that this book gets a 5/5 star rating from me and I really recommend it - it wasn't my usual type of story but I really enjoyed it and I was pleasantly surprised and I'd definitely be willing to read more from the author.
Oh and check out the book trailer: