Sunday, October 16, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
Year: 2011
Genre: Dark fantasy/horror
Age: YA 13+

In this first installment of the now trilogy, author Ransom Riggs sets the stage for a skin crawling, spine tingling, slightly horrific young adult fantasy novel.  

The main character of the story is sixteen year old Jacob Portman. Jacob has grown up hearing stories from his Polish grandfather about spending time in a home for peculiar children. The home in question is on the island of Carinholm off the coast of Wales. At this home their lived a number of not so ordinary children with magical powers. Among them was Abe Portman, the boy who could see the monsters.

Jacob has a hard time in school after hearing all these amazing stories of his grandfather’s childhood and seeing the bizarre pictures that accompany them. He has an even harder time when his grandfather is killed by these monsters that no one else believes exist. But Jacob like his grandfather has the peculiar gift of being able to see them.

To combat the difficulties Jacob is facing like nightmares, his psychiatrist Dr. Golan suggests that Jacob visit the island and the home to see for himself that his grandfather’s stories were just that, made-up fairytales. So Jacob & his bird enthusiast Dad head to Wales to see what really goes bump in the night.

The island of Carinholm is a charming little town with only one bar that also happens to have the only telephone & room for let. It’s called the Priest Hole and it’s as delightful as a place with that name could be.

It doesn’t take long to find the home. The only problem is it’s a pile of rubble. It turns out that the house was bombed during WWII. September 3, 1940 to be exact and since then it’s sat on the far side of the island untouched. But how could that be since Jacob has a letter from Miss Peregrine herself written only a few decades ago?

One day while exploring the house Jacob gets some unexpected visitors. He recognizes them from his grandfather’s old photographs. But that would be impossible right? Even if they survived the bombing they couldn’t still be alive as well. Its then that Jacob gets into the loop…

The loop is a span of time that repeats itself everyday so that Miss Peregrine and the children can continue to live on the island and out of the knowledge of the monsters. The loop is set to September 3, 1940 everyday all day forever. While at the home we get introduced to some of the peculiar children.

Emma can produce fire & is also immune to it. Hugh has a colony of bees inside of him but they won’t sting anyone unless he wants them too. Millard is the invisible boy. Horace has dreams that predict the future. Fiona can make things grow. Bronwyn can lift impossibly heavy things. Claire has a mouth on the back of her head that’s hidden by her pretty curls. Enoch makes homunculi, which means he uses animal hearts to animate things & people. Victor is Bronwyn’s twin brother but he was killed by the monsters. Then there’s Miss Peregrine who is a ymbryne which means she can change into a bird & alter time. Miss Peregrine is the one who constructed the loop & resets it daily.
Just a few days before Jacob and his Dad are set to end their stay and leave the island, a strange man appears and a barrage of even stranger things start to happen. Its then that Miss Peregrine’s worst fears are about to happen.

The monsters that only special peculiars like Jacob can see are called hollowgasts. They are a group of adults that used to be peculiars. But in an experiment gone wrong in the search for immortality outside the loop system, they were transformed into monsters. They have gray skin, deformed limbs, and slithering black tentacles inside their mouths. The only way they can take on a human form again is by consuming other peculiars. When they do this they become wight’s.

Well a group of hollow’s & wight’s has come to the island. Their goal is to take Miss Peregrine and a fellow ymbryne that came to the house after her own loop was attacked. Their goal is to use them to try the experiment again. Since Jacob is the only one of them that can see the monsters it’s up to him to help save the group from the wight that is all too familiar to him.

In a climatic ending a few hollow’s & wight’s are killed but that doesn’t mean the group is safe because more are on their way. Miss Peregrine is stuck in her bird form and one of the children is injured, as the group must leave after their loop falters and the house goes up in smoke. They must “leapfrog” to another loop and try to find help before it’s too late.

Likes: The pictures in the book really add to the sty & are interesting considering they are real.
The book was not as scary as I thought it would be from the description & the cover.
The story is very original, with so many dystopian & fantasy stories out there already it’s good to see some variety.

 Movie adaptation makes the book fun & entertaining (comparison to come soon).
Dislikes: The chapters of the book were long but there was only 11 in almost 350 something pages. As someone who times or gauges their reading on chapters it throws off my groove.


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