Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
By Ransom Riggs
This has been a book sitting my Kobo E-reader for… a long time. I had bought it and forgot about it. Distracted by other books and events going on in my life. It wasn’t until I hear about the upcoming movie that I remembered I already had the book. It was time – and I waited too long. Within the first few chapters I realized why I had bought the book in the first place and mentally hit myself for not reading it sooner. It reminded me of X-Men (with children having unusual gifts), and all the time travel movies/shows I’ve seen. It was exciting, engaging and most times I had trouble putting it down. Just on that alone, I would recommend the book to any sci-fi/fantasy fan.
The story itself revolves around Jacob Portman; a normal, everyday teenager. We learn early on how Jacob used to idolize his grandfather who told him stories about his childhood at the Home. Showing him the bizarre pictures of the children and their usual gifts. One who is invisible, another who seems to float off the ground. Ransom Riggs includes many of these ‘photos’ into his book, all creepy in their own way but enjoyable and adding to the interest of the reader. Eventually Jacob, as he ages, realizes that none of his grandfather’s stories are true and begrudged him for all the lies he told him. It’s not until Jacob is sixteen that events change and he learns that his grandfather’s stories are not fiction at all.
After the death of his grandfather, he begins to trace his grandfather’s steps back to England and to the island where the children’s home used to be. There he hopes to settling his internal fears and make sure that nothing his father said was real, or could hurt him. Instead, he finds the truth that everything is exactly as his grandfather said. He finds the Bird, the children and home, but all in another time. There is a loop, that only those with gifts could pass through, taking them back to the day before the bomb fell on their home, in 1940. What’s odd is that the children don’t age in the loop, keeping them as youthful as the day his grandfather left. Jacob learns a lot about the place, and why his grandfather left. Even his own special gift that his grandfather tried to warn him about before he died.
But there’s more! There are monsters hunting the children, giving them the reason to flee to these loops to protect themselves. The monsters are Hollowgasts, driven to eat the children and those with unusual gifts. It’s quite freaky and scary, but is these monsters that make Jacob realize his own gift and how valuable he is to the others.
I won’t go into any more details about the story, afraid to give away spoilers to those who have not read it. It has an exciting climax, and the ending is left hanging in preparation for the next book. As for the movie, I’m unsure how it will hold up. Visually it looks amazing, but I’ve already noticed they have altered a few characters around which I’m always displeased about. Yet, I try not to let subtle detail changes get in the way. This is an amazing story, full of wonderful characters and heartwarming events. The photos just add that touch of creepiness and reality to the fictional story. Random Riggs did a wonderful job and I can’t wait to read more of his books.