Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you had a grandpa who told you fascinating stories of his childhood, you would probably grow out of them too. That's what Jacob Portman did. Although his grandpa means a lot to him, the odd photos and stories that he told his young grandson were lost on Jacob as he grew into a teenager. No longer could Jacob believe that his grandpa was hunted by monsters or had friends with mystical powers, such as invisibility or ultimate strength. That is until one night when Jacob's life changes forever—he sees the monster who has killed Grandpa Portman. Grandpa Portman also provides Jacob a cryptic set of messages with his last breath, including “Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man's grave. September third, 1940.”

Jacob cannot handle the nightmare he has witnessed. He can't eat, he can't sleep and he cannot figure out what Grandpa Portman wanted him to find. His parents are worried enough to send him to a psychiatrist who tries to help him work through it. Once Jacob receives the right clues to better understand Grandpa Portman's final message, he is off to convince his parents and everyone else that he needs to see the island that his grandpa talked about so fondly. Once Jacob gets to Cairnholm, he realizes that all of those fairytales are not just stories—those strange people in the box of photos are all real and still living in a time loop just beyond the bog.

Now that Jacob is amongst the peculiar children, he must find out what his grandpa had been talking about all those years. He also needs to know why his own father couldn't related to Grandpa Portman like he could. Jacob must choose whether he should go back to his own time, or stay with Miss Peregrine and her children to help them survive the only way he can—with the same peculiar power that he inherited from his grandpa.

What sets this novel apart from any other fantasy story like this is its inclusion of a handful of vintage photographs scattered throughout the book. Some of these photos employ trick photography, others are just a plain creepy. Although when the narrator describes the photos, it definitely feels like the photo was found first and that part of the story was written around it. Other than that, the plot is strong and intriguing until the very end. Like many other readers of this book, I am waiting to see what the sequel has to bring for Jacob, Miss Peregrine and the other peculiars.

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