Author: Ransom Riggs
“But why did the monsters want to hurt you?” I asked.
“Because we weren’t like other people. We were peculiar.”
“Oh, all sorts of ways.” he said. “There was a girl who could fly, a boy who had bees living inside him, a brother and sister who could lift boulders over their heads.”
I have been aware of this series for a while now, having seen pictures and reviews floating around the internet, and it might have taken me some time but I’m finally making my way through the series. There are three books in total: ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ is the first, ‘Hollow City’ the second and ‘Library of Souls’ the third.
This first book in the series introduces us to Jacob, a normal sixteen year old American boy. He has grown up listening to his grandfather Abe’s crazy stories; what he once wanted to believe as truth he now assumes are the rantings of an old man. He talks of the monsters that are coming to get him, the monsters he hunted in the war. He tells Jacob about peculiar children with strange abilities. Not only that, he has pictures to prove it. Picture upon picture of odd children, who he assures Jacob were once his friends in an orphanage on a remote island.
It is not until tragedy strikes that Jacob starts to think he should not have so easily dismised his grandfathers tales. He is lost and knows that to be able to move froward, he must discover the truth behind the stories. This journey leads Jacob to an abandoned ruin on an island off the coast of Wales. As he explores the crumbling old building, Jacob soon realises that there is far more to learn about his grandfather’s life than he’d ever imagined, and the peculiar children may somehow still be alive.
This is indeed a peculiar series. Author Ransom Riggs writes the story around a series of strange photographs he has collected, some of which are just plain scary. For me, this visual part of storytelling only brings the characters to life, and adds more excitement to the novel. The copy I have reviewed came in a box set of all three books, with 12 photographs included. For more information about this, you can find it on Quirk’s website.
As usual, I can’t talk freely about the plot without spoilers, but there are plenty of twists and turns, and the story goes further than I’d imagined. There are also some scary parts to the novel, and I’m sure the follow-up books will be the same.
One of the main problems I found overall was simply Jacob’s relationship with his parent, or lack of one. He spends the majority of the story with his father, who in turn spends a lot of that time drunk and not noticing his son sneaking around the island and disappearing for most of the day and night. Jacob’s mother is hardly featured, and Jacob himself isn’t too worried about the consequences of his actions on his family. Maybe if there was a solid reason for his indifference towards them, this wouldn’t have bothered me so much.
I’m currently getting started reading the second novel, and can’t wait to see where this story takes me! Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below…