Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My purchase of this book was unplanned and quite impulsive. I had been looking for something unusual, unique and different to my usual reads. Perhaps something a little weird or quirky. I believe it was the title which first caught my attention and as soon as I pulled back the book and set my eyes on the front cover I knew I had stumbled across just that.
A brief synopsis of the book –
Jacob Portman grows up listening to his grandfathers tales of monsters, the second world war and his early life. As a Jew he is rescued and sent to Wales to save him from being captured, where he is looked after at a Children’s Home set back from the rest of the Island. He shares with Jacob bizarre and peculiar photographs, of children to be precise that appear to be performing acts of magic or who look strange.Jacob is fascinated and thrilled by all these stories until he gets older and outgrows them, dismissing everything as nonsensical children’s tales.
Jacob’s family are wealthy and he has a normal, unremarkable and unexciting life, which is all he expects his life to be. Unfortunately his grandfather has been unwell and has started having hysterical episodes where he is convinced the monsters are going to get him, that is until something happens and Jacob finds him dead in the woods with slash marks across his body. The story escalates from here, Jacob’s family believe he is going mad and send him for therapy, he is adamant he saw something the night his grandfather died, something monstrous. A short time later in order to help with his therapy, Jacob and his father get on a plane to Wales where he hopes to uncover his grandfathers real past and put all his speculation to rest.
The book superbly incorporates unworldly, bizarre vintage photographs with a truly wonderful fantasy experience. It is, to say the least a rare gem with an abundance of characters with abilities that are guaranteed to keep you entertained for many hours. It is hard to put the book down – especially towards the end as the pace quickens and you wonder just what will happen to these curiously strange children.
I must say – the beginning of the book was a surprise to me. It was not what I expected but that is not a bad thing at all. I was expecting a really eerie, scary thriller, where as the book itself is more of an out-of-the-ordinary adventure story. There are many pictures throughout the book which I admittedly glanced at before purchasing and reading. They’re odd, to say the least, but try not to let these put you off giving the book a chance, as they add so much to the story and give back so much to you, as the reader. It is refreshing to not only be able to envisage the characters but to see them in their weirdness with their unique gifts. As Jacob does before him.
Without giving the plot away, there are a few surprises to the story which you will not expect, especially towards the end. It is quite cleverly written. Needless to say, I was extremely happy when I discovered there are two more books following on from this!
I would highly recommend to read this book, even if it is not your usual genre, you will find it is moving, original and spectacular. I love the way Ransom Riggs has truly built his story around these outworldly vintage photographs which at first feel chilling, creepy, but later feel interlinked with the story as it pulls you into its world.