Recommended Reads: ‘A quirky little novel illustrated with photos’

peregrinesMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

This story intrigues from the beginning. As the author modestly describes it, “this is a quirky little novel illustrated with photos.” The odd collection of vintage photos that is showcased, integral to the story, fascinates and haunts you. Your excitement to read the next plot turn is matched by your eagerness to see the next curious photo.

It all starts with the angst of the Portman family, and tales of Grandpa’s mysterious youth during World War II on a remote island off the coast of Wales. You will wonder, along with his 16-year-old grandson Jacob, are these incredible tales real or imagined? Tales of a band of forsaken children, united in adventure, watched over and guided by the ageless Miss Peregrine. When sudden tragedy strikes Grandpa, Jacob and the reader are sent into a whirlwind. Without fully understanding the implications of his actions, danger follows as Jacob embarks on a quest for the truth about his Grandpa.

The author takes an unassuming family story and morphs it into a fantasy thriller, including time travel, supernatural powers and dark adventure. His idea of writing a story around a motley assortment of antique pictures is very creative. His vivid language keeps you engaged, and complements the unique photo gallery. You’ll find yourself scratching your head over the plot twists as well as over the eccentric pictures.

The author’s reserved, conversational style sneaks up on you, and you are captivated. He takes the time to establish an interesting plot foundation at the beginning, and then draws you into the suspenseful roller coaster that will give you white knuckles. You get to a point where it’s hard to put the book down in the midst of the built up suspense. The author brings to life fully developed characters that will interest you, along with the fantastic special effects.

The wide appeal of this story crosses favorite genres and ages from adolescent through adult.

This is Ransom Riggs’ first novel. He is a writer and an award-winning short film maker. I believe that his film-making experience contributes to making his language and storytelling approach so visual. Here is fair warning: You may want to finish reading this novel soon, so you’re ready for further exploits in Miss Peregrine II, which will be available for sale in January, 2014.

And thereby hangs a tale . . . .

– By Wendy Kendall

wendy kendallWendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.



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