Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)

Quirk Books is rapidly becoming one of my favorite publishers of fiction. The...well...quirky...stories they publish are consistently well-crafted, often unusual and somewhat irreverent, and always entertaining and represent stories that more "mainstream" publishers wouldn't touch. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is no exception to this rule.

It would be easy to write off Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children as a derivative of Marvel's "X-Men" characters. It would be easy, and it would be wrong.

Jacob Portman grows up hearing his grandfather's fantastic stories of strange young children who have been gathered together in an orphanage off the coast of Wales during World War II. His grandfather's "proof" is a collection of odd, and even disturbing, photographs he claims were children he knew. As Jacob gets older, he begins to view these stories as colorful tales, even metaphors, told by an aging, possibly senile, man.

And then Grandpa Portman gets murdered.

Jabob's quest for his grandfather's killer leads him to Wales, where he discovers that not everything that seems fantastic is a fairy tale, and that sometimes, the monsters are very, very real.

Riggs' story is filled with enough twists and turns as would befit a story about peculiar children, and scattered throughout the book are photographs Riggs himself has collected and used as inspiration for this wonderful story. The photographs themselves add to the unusual, and at times menacing, atmosphere of the tale and are interspersed at perfect intervals throughout the text.

The trailer for the book speaks to and for it as much as I could:

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is available at your local, independent bookstore. (Want to make a difference? Shop your local, independent bookstore!!)

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