Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Random Riggs
This is a read under the 4r section, reading groups, re-reads, recommendations and random buys. Miss Peregrin is a recommendation from my friend, again she has introduced me to another splendid author.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a bizarre experience. Using real old photographs for the characters and the strangest of plots, Ransom Riggs has achieved a truly remarkable debut novel. Not just in the story telling although that is great but in the whole package of a book, in the careful choice of end papers, chapter pages and the old photographs – the whole is a complete and satisfying experience.
This tale is an intriguing mix of genres from fantasy, detective work, shape shifting, time travel and more – I lost count! This is, in parts, almost whimsical but in essence it is a very dark tale. Chilling, savage and exciting in turns. The inclusion of World War Two with its hints at the nastier aspects of the Nazi regime adds to the feel of peril. The odd seclusion of the island and its inhabitants adds to the weird other world feeling.
The children of the title are hauntingly caught in their time loop, forever, so they believe, young and bathed in perpetual sunshine yet this is a fairytale of the old magic and dark forces are gathering. The hero a spoilt brat of modern-day world is the unlikeliest of heroes but shouldn’t that be so in a fairytale.
The characters are superbly well drawn, even down to the bit players, after a few chapters you know these islanders, the outsiders and then the children. The descriptive passages enable one to smell the bogs, sheep, alcohol and the smoke. The mists and sunshine are so real. It’s as if one has spent time there on holiday.
The author suffers from a huge imagination and an inventive mind and we are the richer for it.
I do hope there is a sequel and then I can report the ending is one which will draw one in for another go. If there is no sequel then the ending will be part of the pleasurable oddity that is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
For those who like a dash of the bizarre and strange in their books, who enjoy a sense of enchantment, I would say have a read of this book.