Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs | Rating: ★★★★☆
“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.” // “We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing in them becomes too high.”
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is quite the mouthful for a title, isn’t it? But admit it: you’ve heard the hype and if that wasn’t enough to gain your attention, surely the title was. Ransom Riggs manages to create a unique and fun story told through peculiar plots and fantastically spooky vintage photographs. In truth, the very first pages are enough to draw you into the story in a heartbeat and keep you locked in place for hours until you’ve managed to read it in one sitting.
Or at least, that’s what happened to me. Yes, Ransom Riggs brings us a story worthy of its hype and showcases us his talent for storytelling and opening our eyes to a world within our own, so to speak. I can honestly say that this is such a unique and wonderful read that I’d recommend it to my friends and well, anyone. Especially if they’re fond of the dark tone in which Riggs tells a tale.
Our story begins with our narrator, Jacob, reminiscing on the so called tall tales his beloved Grandfather used to tell him. When he was little, he believed his Grandpa with all his heart; yet as time passed and Jacob grew he began to question the outlandish tales until one day they stopped. And upon the death of his grandpa, these stories resurface and Jacob begins to wonder if he’s gone crazy.
His newly appointed therapist, for the grief, suggests he takes a vacation to the area in which his grandfather grew up in to see for himself that these stories he’d been told are not real. But what if these stories — these fantasy tales — are real and he’s not crazy? And on this trip of discovery, what if he finds something he doesn’t like?
In a creepy tale of twists and turns, we discover that his grandpa’s death isn’t what it seemed to the outside world and all the tales he’d been told were real. Jacob’s entire world and mindset changes upon realizing the truth of his family, and the old photographs he’d once believed were doctored. And worst of all, the further he dives into the truth the more danger he puts himself in, much like his grandpa warned him the day he’d died.
Through the setting and a world magical and different from our own, we meet the group of kids that Jacob’s grandpa spoke so highly and often of. How are they still alive? How are they still the same age — preserved through time — that they were decades ago? And what exactly does it mean to be a peculiar child? What is Jacob? What are they? Answers will be told but there is just enough of a cliffhanger to leave us wanting the next installment in this peculiar series.
There are many characters featured in the book and although you only vaguely get to know the peculiar children, you do find yourself attached to them. Fascinated completely by their world, their abilities and all that threatens their very being. Ransom paints us the perfect world of rich characters and complications that are always waiting around the corner for their kind. Even the minor characters are likeable.
I don’t recommend looking at this book if old photographs creep you out — especially since most of them are “real” — but I will tell you to keep in mind that it does add the perfect visuals to our imaginations as we read the story. Truly, they belong within the story and it all ties up together so well in a dark and creative way that many stories lack.
I think that this novel, this series, is fast on its way to becoming a unique classic in its own right and I look forward to reading the second book once I have the time. Through the action, the light touch of a potential romance, the mystery, the twist and turns as well as the magic, Miss Peregrine’s world is a world you will be drawn into and perhaps you too will wish to be peculiar.