Thursday, 7 March 2013

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Jacob used to believe his grandfather when the old man showed him strange pictures from his past. As a child he wanted to believe that it was possible that somewhere little girls could float above the ground, boys could be invisible, and even that somewhere someone had a mouth on the back of their head. As he got older he began to doubt the truth of his grandfather’s strange playmates and the Welsh island where they once lived.

When his grandfather dies horribly, Jacob, now a teen, sees something that makes him think that his grandfather had been right all along. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children follows Jacob on his journey to sort the truth from the lies deep in his grandfather’s murky past.

Unsettling photographs are used as a very effective storytelling device in this novel. When Jacob’s grandfather shows him the pictures of the peculiar children, we see them too, woven seamlessly into the narrative. The story is at once more real and much creepier!
More pictures appear as the story unfolds, and they fit so neatly within the narrative that Ransom Riggs has developed that it is amazing to discover that the photographs used are all ‘authentic, vintage found photographs’ from a variety of collectors.

The story itself is wonderful. Suspense builds as Jacob uncovers more and more about his grandfather’s past, and the eerie photos heighten the experience. Timeslip elements are integrated seamlessly, and Jacob is a very engaging character, determined to uncover the truth.

Towards the end of the novel it is a bit disappointing to start heading into what looks like standard fantasy fare. However, I may be selling the author short, and I am sure that I will be picking up the sequel when it hits the library in 2014! I am also hanging out for the film, which apparently Tim Burton is set to direct.


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