Thursday, August 11, 2011
Genre: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Quirk Books.
Source: Quirk Books.
Favorite character: Jacob Portman.
Favorite quote: “I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.” ~Jacob.
All in all: Charming, mysterious, thought provoking.
Synopsis: A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
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 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.
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. ~Goodreads.com
My Thoughts: When I saw the cover for Miss Peregrin'e Home For Peculiar Children, I was intrigued. At the Steampunk World's Fair I was shown a sneak peek of some of the photographs included in the book. I love photography and these pictures are mystifying, surreal, and well, just cool! Ransom Riggs, the author, came across the photos and put together a wonderful story.
I received the novel, saw the print and thought, Oh no! How am I going to get through it? The type is small and it feels like a textbook! However, I was hooked right away. The story is told through the main character, Jacob Portman, who is thoughtful, astute and introspective. Jacob has an easy style of speaking and he drew me right into his tale. After several pages, I appreciated the format. I realize now the intent is to model an “old fashioned” book and it lends itself to the story, of discovering a piece of history, of unlocking a mystery.
Some books I race through and some books I savor because I want to think about what’s happening. This book I definitely savored. It’s going to sound really weird, but I found myself just sort of…running my hands over the pages every now and then. The type of paper the book is printed on, the photos and other graphics, (letters, book covers, chapter titles) are a perfect fit.
I love how Jacob describes the photo he sees and then I was able to view it as well. The pictures make it real and are almost jarring because I didn’t imagine the descriptions anymore. I saw them. They are even more mysterious and eerie than I visualized. The plot is intriguing and the mythology created is clever and original. I had no trouble suspending my disbelief. I accepted everything the story presented to me without a question or raised eyebrow. The suspense is a low hum that resonates at the beginning and gets louder as more of the story and secrets are revealed. Each chapter ending had me wanting to read the one after. The writing itself is lovely. “Pessimistic weather.” That is a phrase in the book that I can’t get out of my head. There are many tidbits like this throughout where the author uses common words to thread together a lovely image. I won't go too much into the rest of the cast of characters because I don't want to give too much away, but they are believable and likeable.
What I also appreciated is the inclusion of World War II and the Holaucaust. This story isn’t about those events, but they intertwine within the story. As time marches on I wonder how removed that part of history will be in our culture so I am happy they play a role in this story. I love how Jacob remembers what his grandfather went through and is able to find his own courage and his own path in life.
This is a well crafted, thoughtful and fun book and it is clear that a lot of care went into every aspect, from the plot to the execution.
FTC disclaimer: I received this book for an honest review.
Posted by Midnyte Reader at 9:43 AM