Friday, July 1, 2011
Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
Date Published: June 7, 2011
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And 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 who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. (GoodReads)
What a fantastically original book! When I picked up my copy, I honestly did not know what to expect. The trailer does an excellent job of covering the prologue. At the same time, it leaves readers wanting more because it doesn't go in to detail or give anything away.
The book jacket is awesome. The front shows a creepy photo of a girl floating a couple feet above the ground. The back shows several more creepy photos, a kind of preview as to what is inside. Scattered throughout the text are the peculiar, yet whimsical photos of children trapped in time by a camera. Flipping through leaves the reader curious and interested. What do these photos mean? How does the author weave such bizarre characters into the story?
Ransom Riggs does it exceedingly well. Not only is it visually appealing, but the story is very engaging as well. Being his first novel, I was very impressed with the writing. He does a great job of grabbing hold of the reader's imagination with the descriptive images (aside from the photographs) and characterization. I felt like I was right beside Jacob during the whole story. I could visualize the surroundings every step of the way. Although the pictures only enhance the characters, through his writing, Riggs is able to make each of them very real. They aren't just the girl who can float or the invisible boy, but real children who like to play and live life. Riggs also does a great job of holding the reader's attention. There was never a moment when I felt like I wanted to stop reading. An example of this occurs at the end of the prologue with, "Then, a few years later, when I was fifteen, an extraordinary and terrible thing happened, and there was only Before and After" (18). Again, this grabs the readers attention, Before and After what? Well of course we have to keep reading!
This is one of those books that everyone needs to put on their to be read list. I would even suggest buying a copy for yourself. Not only is the story extraordinarily creative (as well as creepy and wonderful), the photos are just amazing. Even after I was finished reading, I continue to look back at the photos and remember Jacob's trip to find the truth about his grandfather and himself. I am curious to know if Ransom Riggs is planning a sequel....
After watching the book trailer, I discovered this video. It is very interesting (especially to someone who has read the book). If you have a few minutes, take a look at this!