Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review | Mss Peregrine's home for Peculiar Children

If 'Show don't tell' is the writers first rule, then illustration is perhaps an easy shortcut to get there. Ransom Rigg's debut novel begins with a handful of strange photographs akin to something you would see in a circus of freaks. A girl floating off the ground, a headless boy whose neck is hid by a cravat. Black and white pictures that prepare you for a gory and frightening story of Stephen King proportions.

It begins with a sixteen year old boy bearing witness to his grandfathers death and going on a journey to solve a mystery. This journey takes him to an isolated island and an abandoned orphanage which turns out to be Miss Peregrine's home for peculiar children. In what way were these children peculiar? And why have they been quarantined there? And what does that mean for him and his grandfather?

In trying to find answers, he confronts the unbelievable and in the process, finds out more about himself than he could possibly want to. While the gothic nature of the storytelling is quite lovely, this would have been just another interesting fantasy/sci-fi novel without the eeriness photographs. With them, it transforms into a visual and mental treat, the images constantly filling gaps in your mind. I can't wait for the sequel, which I am sure will continue to delight teenagers, young adults and me. 

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