When I first saw „Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children“ by Ransom Riggs on the „Recommended Books“ table in a store in Vienna, I was sceptic. The grey cover, the levitating child, the truly peculiar name- I was thinking of madmens‘- or in this case womens‘- houses, luring children in, transforming them somehow. My friend bought it, because she likes dark horror themes, and I didn’t give it a second thought.
Then, one faithful day, as I was scrolling through the list of soon-to-be-released movies, the title popped up again- but the poster was colourful, happy even, and in German the kids were called „special“ instead of „peculiar“ (but that could be because they couldn’t think of a better word).
So I begged my friend to lend it to me, even though she hasn’t read it yet, and yippie! she did. And the book was nothing like I imagined it to be.
The book, „horrible“ as it might look, is more of the fantasy genre. So, basically, my home. The horror is only in the monsters threatening the children, and, I mean, you gotta have one of those!
But the peculiarity lies not only in the story, but in the pictures. They’re all through the book, peculiar photographs Ransom Riggs himself picked from collectors. And they’re even cleverly included in the story!
But what is the story? Again, I have prepared a little blurb for you!
When Jacob Portman was a young boy, his Grandpa used to tell him all sorts of stories- how he fled from terrible creatures to an island full of peculiar children with peculiar talents, watched over by Miss Peregrine. The sun always shines there and there is never a hint of worry. Naturally, as Jacob grows older, the stories seem more and more made-up and the photographs presented to him look like fakes. But surprisingly, his grandpa is killed, and Jacob sees one of the ghastly creatures who chased his ancestor himself. Determined to find out more, he and his father go on vacation to the island where the Peculiar Children should be. And really, under curious circumstances, Jacob suddenly finds himself in the year of 1940- and Grandpa Portman’s stories don’t seem to be made up at all anymore.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a new time-travel idea, loads of mystery and action and a creative plot. The mix between fantasy, World War || and photography will give you indeed a peculiar reading experience!
(Some more good news: the sequels „Hollow City“ and „Library of Souls“ have already been released!)