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Thursday, June 30, 2011
Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Quirk Books
ISBN: 1594744769 (ISBN13: 9781594744761)
When an author has an awesome name like “Ransom,” you expect great things. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children did not disappoint! For one thing, the book is just beautiful! The chapter headers, the layout, even the texture of the pages. I was instantly drawn to this book by the cover and title. Read the description, and was hooked! I borrowed the book from Kelly at Bending the Spine, and will be buying my own copy in the next couple weeks! This is a nearly perfect book!
The use of he vintage photographs added to the story, gave it almost a surreal effect—instead of merely experiencing it as an outsider, I felt like I was there with Jacob, learning as he learned. Riggs is a fantastic storyteller. To realize that the book was written around some of the photographs was a strange feeling. They had to have been taken after Ransom Riggs had written the book, right? They fit so perfectly. Nothing was forced or contrived—the photos felt like a natural extension of the book. Mr. Riggs is genius!
I could NOT put this book down, reading snippets whenever I had a few free minutes, then staying up practically all night to finish it! The story is gripping, compelling the reader forward at a frenzied pace just to know what happens next. There were so many twists, I almost couldn’t keep up! The predictability was minimal—it would feel like something bad was about to happen, then not, and sometimes bad things happened I wasn’t expecting. Inconsequential characters make a huge different in this story, something that I was surprised about. This book is meant to be devoured in as few reading-sessions as possible!
I’m not big on science, so I don’t really understand some of the “how this works” of the story, but it’s good that I didn’t need to know, I just needed to trust that it worked. Riggs didn’t dwell on unnecessary details or go into too much scientific babble—things just are the way they are, all we as readers need to do is trust that that is how they worked. And, it is believable, so I had no problems doing that. I appreciate that Riggs didn’t try to create how-this-is-real-because-I-did-scientific-research-and-used-big-words (as some sci-fi books I’ve read heave on other topics, not that this is sci-fi, it is more paranormal sci-fi if I had to categorize it) theory of **SPOILER ALERT** time travel. It wasn’t all about the time travel, that was just one small part of the story. Thank you, Mr. Riggs, for not making me feel like an idiot.
My one issue (yes, there usually is at least one) is the ending. Notice a theme to my reviews, yet? Endings to a book are important to me. I like to feel satisfied, like having just eaten a large amount of comfort food and settling into a corner of the sofa for a nap. Well, as seems to be the trend with movies and books lately, the ending is left open. Is there a sequel on the horizon? The way the book ends, I suspect there is, but couldn’t find evidence to support my theory. Which doesn’t entirely disappoint me, because I want more of the Peculiar Children; the portion that is disappointed needed more closure. It was a poignant ending, beautiful in the words alone that were used, leaving a lasting impression with the use of a photograph.
There are some great posts about Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children at Ransom Riggs’s blog here. Also, 20th Century Fox bought the movie rights!
5 Stars: I devoured this book like a hollowgast would a peculiar child. Great work, Mr. Riggs!
Posted by Richard at 1:00 AM