Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CBR III Review #18 - Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.

This was a really interesting read, if for no other reason that it is so very different in format than your average novel.  For those unaware, this book is created from found photography.  The images inform the narrative, rather than the other way around.  Each of the pictures is a really fucking creepy image from much older times, all of which appear they have either been altered or are of something mysterious and magical.
The story itself revolves around a young man named Jacob.  Jacob grew up listening to stories of his grandfather, Abe.  Abe has shown Jake pictures of his childhood at the home of Miss Peregrine, where he escaped to during WWII.  Abe's pictures and stories are all about magical children with powers, and for awhile, Jake believes that's how it was.  As he grows older, he comes to believe that it's all an analogy for his experiences in escaping Poland as a Jew during the war, and that what he survived has led him to make it into fantastic stories.  After Abe is killed in the woods behind his house, the teenaged Jacob realizes there is more to this magical children stuff than he thought - much, much more.

Jacob decides to venture to the island in Wales where his grandfather had stayed at the home. It is here that the story really picks up steam and we learn the truth of what is going on.  To elaborate on it here would spoil things, so I won't.  It's an interesting and occasionally tense read, and the use of the creepy found photographs is really effective.  Really the only shortcoming I felt the book possessed was the ending.  While I understand the point of ambiguous endings, or endings that don't really feel like they wrap things up, I very generally dislike them.  Miss Peregrine's is no exception.  I wanted more from it.  I'm not sure if there is a planned sequel (although finding images and quotes for this review has led me to discover there IS a film adaptation planned), but I'd like one.  I don't like not knowing what happened after the curtain closed.  

Great book, though, and one I recommend!

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