Monday, December 31, 2012

"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very 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 abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Book Trailer

The trees parted like a curtain and suddenly there it was, cloaked in fog, looming atop a weed-choked hill. The house. I understood at once why the boys had refused to come.
My grandfather had described it a hundred times, but in his stories, the house was always a bright, happy place - big and rambling, yes but full of light and laughter. What stood before me now was no refuge from monsters, but a monster itself, staring down from its perch with vacant hunger. Trees burst forth from broken windows and skins of scabrous vine gnawed at the walls like antibodies attacking a virus - as if nature itself had waged war against it - but the house seemed unkillable, resolutely upright despite the wrongness of its angles and the jagged teeth of sky visible through sections of collapsed roof.


By Lynda Dickson

This book starts off as an amusing and engaging story told from the point-of-view of a teenage boy, Jacob Portman. It later develops into a fantasy/horror story, so I recommend this book to readers aged 12 and up.

Following the death of his grandfather in unusual circumstances, Jacob sets off to England in an attempt to solve the mystery of his grandfather's dying words. He goes in search of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, where his grandfather was raised until the onset of World War II. The Home is the setting of numerous stories Jacob's grandfather told him as a child, featuring a levitating girl, an invisible boy and a cast of other unusual characters. Are these stories real or a figment of his grandfather's imagination? Whilst Jacob initially believes his grandfather's stories, he begins to lose his faith as he grows older.

Jacob's search leads him to encounter a spooky mansion, a shape-shifter, children with peculiar powers, cannibalistic monsters, creepy photographs, a love story, and a bit of time travel. With all these elements, this book is sure to please young and old alike. 

The book features original vintage photographs collected by the author and his friends. It is a credit to the author's imagination that he came up with this story based on the photographs. Some readers have expressed difficulty in viewing the photographs and hand-written letters in the eBook version. However, I had no difficulty whatsoever using my Nexus 7 tablet.

Whilst this story in itself is complete, the author has left it open to a sequel.

From the Author
I grew up in Florida, went to Kenyon College in Ohio, then film school at USC in LA, where I still live. I write books and screenplays, blog daily for, and make short films.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is my first novel. I'm really excited about it - it was challenging and rewarding and I hope people like it. If you read that and like the found photographs in it, you might be interested in Talking Pictures,a book comprised entirely of found photographs that I published in October 2012.