Friday, February 10, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenTitle: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ranson Riggs
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Source: Purchased
Description: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. 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 were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted 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.

Jacob is in a stalemate with life, financially well-off but bored and lonesome. His best friend is a matter of appearances, and he couldn't get fired from his miserable job to save his life. That is - until his grandfather is killed by something -- something, it seems, only he could see. Thrown into therapy and coping with a detachment from reality, he grieves and isolates himself, going over the mystery spun within his grandfather's last words over and over again - a mystery that seems to repeatedly lead to haunting stories and their accompanying photographs shared with Jacob as a child. When circumstances fall into place, he's finally able to fullfill his grandfather's last wish: find the island, solve my riddle. With a trip across the Atlantic, he finds himself on an island as peculiar as its secret habitants.Wound up in a world he can barely fathom, he becomes encompassed by the ghost of Miss Peregrin's Home - and in his obsession, risks he himself falling amongst the peculiar children.

The concept of writing a novel based on a box of estranged photographs is a fantastic idea -- beyond creative. Between the amazing graphic design and fascinating photography, it’s a hardcover must-have. The story is mostly modern-day, but it harbors a faint echo of historical fiction, expecially amongst the culture of a rural-European-village-setting. The writing itself is clever and brilliant, and it reminds me of everything I love about simply bizarre works like A Series of Unfortunate Events and the amusing, and intelligent voice of another one of my favorite authors – John Green (Looking For Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns): complexly simplistic, plainly abstract - speckled with oddly fitting pieces of random information, brilliant wording, and the ability to make even the most mundane things interesting beyond what it has to be. Beyond the writing structure itself, reminiscing what never was is a true talent. Throw in a delightful little mystery (one rather unfortunate in nature), and you have another author’s envy and a new reader’s fascination. Beautifully peculiar and wonderfully strange, the expectations raised by such a new idea are definitely met and the text is perfectly synchronized with the pictures. A new take on everything from time-travel to parallel universes to ghosts to immortality to monsters; this is extraordinary, fascinating, exotic, imaginative, enrapturing, creepy, curious, eerie, unique, and genuinely awesome in one pretty little binding. There’s finally a piece worthy of celebrating oddities.

Lost in the middle of the book, in between tense moments, I confess I felt much too “at ease”. When I set the book down in the middle of the night, half-way through, it took me a day and a half to pick it up again. The mysteries of the first half of the novel are generally small, and while clever not overtly engrossing and usually blatantly predictable. For most of the piece, the sub-plot romance between Jacob and Emma lacked a certain level of believability, falling into unconvincing scenes, and clearly lacked the more enamored passion found in YA –but it’s hardly something to criticize, seeing as it’s technically paranormal-fantasy rather than paranormal-romance. Also, the main character tends to be all too quick to disregard clues and logically explain things the reader wants to wonder about – which made it a less demanding desire to know “what happened next”. If you can wait to move forward, usually I’d recommend being weary. But – in this case, after it hits the three-forths point it spins out and fully blooms. Plus, I think the positively amazing qualities of this piece outweigh the lack of prolonged suspense. There were a variety of times when the writing was heart-quickening and spine-tingling, so it definitely has something beyond raw potential.
I recommend Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Childrenfor fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Paper Towns by John Green, Farsighted by Emlyn Chand, andThe Spiderwick Chroniclesby Holly Black.

Recommended :)

Where to Find Ransom Riggs:


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