It says quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn't even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he's able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it's been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn't been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm.
Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings.... Young adult veteran Tom McNeal (one half of the writing duo known as Laura & Tom McNeal) has crafted a novel at once warmhearted, compulsively listenable, and altogether thrilling - and McNeal fans of their tautly told stories will not be disappointed.
Listening Length: 10 hours and 58 minutes
Audible Audio, Audible Audio Edition - Unabridged
Published June 11th 2013 by Listening Library
Three and a half stars: A masterfully woven modern day fairy tale with a touch of macabre.
Jeremy Johnson Johnson has a great burden on his shoulders. His mother left years ago, and since then his father has been a recluse. Jeremy is about to lose his home because the bank is foreclosing on the bookstore where Jeremy lives with his dad. Worse, Jeremy feels like an outsider in the town because he has a secret. Jeremy hears voices, one voice in particular, the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one of the Grimm brothers. Jacob wandered the world for years looking for his brother Wilhelm. Jacob came to Jeremy’s home town, Never Better, when he was advised by another ghost that there was a boy who lived here who could hear him. This boy would also need protecting from someone who means harm. Who would want to harm Jeremy and why?
What I Liked:
- Far Far Away is a unique book. It is a book that reads like an old fashioned fairy tale from old. It takes it time laying out story lines, weaving them into place and then a big gotcha moment near the end will change everything. Pay attention, people are not what they seem, and watch for the bread crumb clues that will piece it all together.
- I liked the writing. The story takes its sweet time. It is slow going early on, not much happens, but don’t be fooled, the story is being laid out. Small details that seem inconsequential will later play an important part in the story. It was brilliant seeing how it all came together.
- The story is told from the view point of a ghost. Not just any ghost, the ghost is Jacob Grimm, one of the famous Grimm brothers who collected the fairy tales of old. I was fascinated by Jacob’s view point, it gave the story an old world feel.
- I liked that I was never able to surmise who was up to no good, who the evil villain was and who the good guys were. I had certain characters pegged dead wrong. There are many chameleons in this one. I liked that I was always guessing.
- The ending is bittersweet and satisfying. All the story lines are done up, and all is well.
- What made this read for me was the narration. I listened to the audiobook narrated by W. Morgan Sheppard. I loved Mr. Sheppard’s narration. He did a phenomenal job with the voices and the accents. His narration made the story far more interesting, and in all honesty, I don’t think I would have liked this as much if I had read it versus listening.
And The Not So Much:
- This book has a plodding pace. If you are not a patient reader, this book will not be for you. The first portion of the book moves at a pedantic pace, and it may seem like nothing of importance is happening, but in fact, there is a great deal going on. The author lays out a careful bread crumb trail with all these little snippets of information that seem unimportant, but they all come into play later in the book. Even the smallest things matter. If you take your time and pay attention it is worth the wait.
- What was the deal with the deputy?
- I was left wondering about the ghost. What was his purpose all along? Was it to help Jeremy? I wish the story wasn’t so open ended.
Far Far Away is a thought provoking read that will enchant readers who love the old fairy tales. This is a book that takes its time laying out story lines that weave together brilliantly to form a masterful tale. This one requires some patience, but if you are willing to invest the time, you will like the pay out. I had fun with this modern fairy tale.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own, and Is as not compensated for this review.