Friday, 29 July 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children By Ransom Riggs

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 Miss Peregrine's 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.
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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.
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When I first saw Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children online, I was immediately intrigued, but as soon as I saw the book trailer I was instantly sold. It was amazing! It felt more like a trailer for a scary movie than a book and I was happy to see that it lived up the trailer.
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Jacob has always looked up to his Grandfather. However, now he is of the age where he is questioning some of his Grandfather's stories about his time at an orphanage with other children that seem to have peculiar gifts during WWII. When Jacob finds a letter among his Grandfather's belongings he feels the need to find out once and for all if he was to be trusted. This leads him and his Dad to an island off the coast of Wales to uncover the secrets that it holds.
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Jacob is a strange character. Whilst he is a sixteen-year-old he sometimes acts a lot older for his age. He is also a bit of a loner. I wouldn't say that it is by choice exactly, but he appears to have gotten used to spending time on his own and is comfortable with his own company more than he is around other people. However, when he meets the peculiar children he feels more at home and perhaps a little more understanding of his own oddities. What I loved about Jacob though, was his ability to follow his heart and instincts. He has faith in his abilities even when the people around him doubt him.
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I loved the whole idea of the peculiar children stuck in time at an orphanage. These children all have different gifts that make them unique. They have all been stuck in time at the home for many years. They all still act and think like children but occasionally they have these snippets of thinking and talking that make them sound more like the age they truly are. This gives them a slightly creepy aura about them. Jacob bonds with a young girl in particular called Emma who also grows fond of Jacob. I really liked the friendship between these two but I'm not sure I felt the need for it to progress into anything else. I did feel sorry for Emma at times because you can tell that she wants nothing more than to live a normal life and grow up. At times the peculiar children had the essence of the Lost Boys from Peter Pan but more, well, peculiar.
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The story was enthralling and exciting at times. There were parts where, just like in a horror movie, the suspense and tension gradually keeps on climbing until you think you can no longer bear it right before you know a scary part is on the way. I think the gloomy and isolated setting of Wales really added to this atmosphere of a place out of time with the rest of the world. Miss Peregrine was also a great character. As the protector of the peculiar children she is strict but kind which makes her likable and I would really like to learn more about her.
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One thing I have to mention is how beautifully the book has been made. It is a cloth bound red hardcover with the curly gold font of 'Alma LeFay Peregrine' on the front. The pages themselves are thick which the gives it a great weight and interspersed throughout the whole novel are wonderfully surreal and bizarre black and white photos. These photos are all real that have been gathered by Riggs himself or private collectors that have kindly given their permission for them to be used. What amazes me is how Riggs manages to work these photos seamlessly into the story and make them feel like an integral part of it.
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This book is definitely captivating and enthralling. It has a spooky atmosphere that is mixed with mystery, action and adventure. It keeps you on the edge of your seat with creepy and sinister baddies. A highly exciting and original debut novel that has left me wanting more!
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Random Passage: Each room was a disaster more incredible than the last. Newspapers gathered in drifts. Scattered toys, evidence of children long gone, lay skinned in dust. Creeping mold had turned window-adjacent walls black and furry. Fireplaces were throttled with vines that had descended from the roof and begun to spread across the floors like alien tentacles. The kitchen was a science experiment gone terribly wrong - entire shelves of jarred food had exploded from sixty seasons of freezing and thawing, splattering the wall with evil-looking stains - and fallen plaster lay so thickly over the dining room floor that for a moment I thought it had snowed indoors. At the end of a light-starved corridor I tested my weight on rickety staircase, my boots leaving fresh tracks in layers of dust. The steps groaned as if woken from a long sleep. If anyone was upstairs, they'd been there a very long time.

1 comment:

Clover said...

I'm really excited to read this one and I think the cover and the sound of it really had me intrigued and then I watched the book trailer with N recently and went 'OOOH' So great review :)