Saturday, November 1, 2014

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs - Freaky Photos Included

Pros: Unique use of bizarre pictures, interesting storyline, loved particular ideas
Cons: Awwww - cliffhanger ending!

The Bottom Line: It's an odd story with odd photos, but well worth your time. Even if you are in a loop.
I'd seen this book on the shelves at work.  I'd even thumbed through it a few times to take a look at some of the, well, peculiar photos in the book.  I knew that the photos were real and the story was built around them.  Nifty idea, I thought.  I didn't expect it to be November pick of the Calico Reaction's book club.  But it was, so I jumped on in.  Besides, it seems like teen books are more fun than adult books these days for some odd (peculiar?) reason.
Jacob loved his grandfather.  He loved his stories too.  Of course all those stories are nonsense.  But when his grandfather is brutally murdered and only Jacob saw the nightmarish creature responsible, he realizes he needs answers.  He has to go to the island where his grandfather grew up away from the monsters.  Where he enjoyed the company of children with peculiar talents.  When Jacob arrives, it looks like there's nothing that will shed any light on his questions.  But appearances can be deceiving...
The author, Ransom Riggs (a peculiar name, if I may say so), has created a very intriguing story surrounding all these bizarre photographs.  I'm such an idiot - I didn't even realize the girl on the front cover wasn't actually standing on the ground until it was mentioned in the story.  There are a small handful of photographs we would consider "normal," like a guy and girl together, or a figure who just happens to be in silhouette.  But there are plenty of "What the...?" pictures in there too.  I'm not sure if Riggs formulated the story around the pictures because they inspired them (most likely), or already had a story ready and spotted the pictures and really wanted to include them.
Whatever the case may be, you'll quickly learn to enjoy the characters.  Though it can seem as times as though the story is taking a bit too long to get anywhere, those moments are few and far between.  And even then they were only when Jacob was trying to find out about the house his grandfather lived in.  But once he meets a few special people, things roll along rather nicely.  I had a good time and I thought all the things Riggs came up with, from time looping to the word "ymbryne" (I love that word, I really do, and without reason), to using all those strange photographs.  There's such a rich history here of events and people that we only get the tip of, it will make you eager to know more.
And quite likely you will.  Why?  Because this book basically ends on a cliffhanger.  In fact, I read this back in 2011, but it wasn't until January 2014 that the sequel, Hollow City came out. So it may be good that you haven't read Miss Peregrine until now...then again, I'm sure Hollow City ends on a cliffhanger, too.

Notes from the playlist: "I Am Here" by System Syn

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