“I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.”
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Published June 4, 2013 by Quirk Books
↳ Originally Published June 7, 2011
Source: QBD the Bookshop (purchased)
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs. 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 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.
Okay, let’s just take a brief moment to address the monstrously long title of this novel: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Seriously, that’s like twelve syllables right there. Typing that title out makes me feel like I’m back in high school and I’m trying to hit the word count by any means possible. For the sake of my sanity, I’m going refer to this book as MPH.
Now don’t shoot me, but this book has been sitting on my shelf unread for about two years(!!!!) now, and I severely regret not getting to it sooner. I think I’d been putting it off so long, because someone once told me that they really didn’t think I would like it, and I stupidly believed them. It’s a damn shame, because I really loved this book, and I hate that I’ve only just picked it up recently purely because of the impending release of the film adaption.
As a young boy, Jacob Portman was enthralled by the fascinating tales his grandfather told him of his life growing up during the war. Most fascinating to Jacob were the stories of his grandfather’s time spent in a Welsh orphanage. The stories spoke of a house on an island that was watched over by a bird, and inhabited by children with peculiar quirks and abilities. The house was a safe haven to the children, and protected them against monsters. Of course, Jacob thought his grandfather’s stories to be just that – stories.
When tragedy strikes, Jacob decides that he needs to head to the children’s home that his grandfather grew up in, to try and learn more about his grandfather’s past, and to make sense of his dying words:
“Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man’s grave. September third, 1940.”
Impossibly, Jacob finds the house and discovers it to be inhabited by the children from his grandfather’s stories. Protected inside a time loop, the children never age a day, and are safe from the dangers that lurk just outside of the loop. Little does Jacob know, he’s brought those dangers with him..
I’m a real sucker for anything creepy, so I was a little disappointed that this novel wasn’t that. For some reason I had it in my head that this would somehow be a bit like American Horror Story. (I’ve never even watched AHS, but that’s meant to be pretty creepy, right??!)
One thing that really sets apart this novel from others, is the addition of the photographs. The marvelous Ransom Riggs has written the story based around photographs that he has found from collectors, and – apart from a few minor edits – the photos are completely original, and I think that’s pretty damn cool. I really think that it’s these photographs that lend to the creepy sort of vibe this book is supposed to have. Without them, it just wouldn’t have the same impact.
Basically, MPH is a slightly weirder version of Marvel’s X-Men. I mean they really do share a lot of similarities. What with there being these children with weird and awesome abilities who are not exactly welcomed by folk without any such abilities, so they spend a lot of time in a building under the care of someone with equally (nay, more) awesome powers than them. And of course there are the creepy dudes who want do the bad. Yep, X-Men.
All-in-all, despite it not be the creepy book that I wanted it to be, MPH was an absolute delite to read! For something that I was expecting to be quite dark and serious, it turned out to be curiously whymsical! I can’t wait to continue reading this series with its sequel Hollow City!
Looking for something similar to MPH? Try Neil Gaiman’s Coraline!
Have any of you guys read this absolute stunner of a novel?! Are you looking forward to the movie? Are you as pissed as I am that Emma and Olive have switched peculiarities in the film
(please say yes)? I’d love to hear your thoughts!