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Warning: May contain spoilers.
The first time I saw a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children back in college, I thought it was a horror story. I didn’t even dare pick it up as I am no fan of the horror genre. I’ve never really thought about it until recently when my friends were talking about it. It was then that I learned it was not a horror story after all, but the first in a series of children’s books. I got curious so I tried reading it, and found myself unable to put the book down!
You might wonder what makes this book worth reading since there are a lot of fantasy books out there already. Well, here are seven things I found very cool about this novel:
The idea of using photographs in a novel is not something new. Many have already dabbled with the concept of the pen collaborating with the lens. And we are aware that these photographs can be computer generated and enhanced. Yet how often do you encounter a novel that contains a real photograph of a girl floating in mid-air or of a guy with an invisible head? Not very often! This is the first that I’ve encountered so far and I am both delighted and creeped out. How cool is that?
2. Ransom Riggs’ distinct writing style.
One of the novel’s strengths is that it can make the reader imagine what is happening for himself. Since it is a fantasy book for children, expect your imagination to run wild with its vivid description of places and characters.
3. Its clever take on the use of time travel as a plot device.
Nothing is more exciting for me than toying with the idea of time and Ransom Riggs’ use of time travel as a plot device is ace. While time travel is a common science fiction trope, the book sets itself apart by manipulating time itself instead of just travelling through time. The protector of the peculiar children, called Ymbrynes, have the ability to create time loops. This time loop can be one specific day, month, or year in the past where the children can keep safe and stay in indefinitely. An Ymbryne needs to just re-set the loop each day so the children can re-live it as long as they want to.
4. The protagonists remain children and young adults — no matter their actual age.
Since the characters can travel back in time, they can live longer and remain as children and young adults! They will not age at all, unless they go to the present time and live there. Emma, though she looked young, is in fact already in her eighties. You can imagine how these kids kick some ass with their peculiar powers and be the heroes of the day.
5. You will love how magical and creepy it is at the same time.
While the novel hints at something horrific, it is really anything but. What makes it creepy is the oddity of the magic and the gothic elements of its fantasy. Harmless-looking children with super strength or the ability to fly might not be that peculiar, but the ability to animate the dead for brief periods of time or to have an extra mouth at the back of one’s head sure is.
6. Despite being primarily set in the 1940s, the story remains modern and relatable.
You will notice that the present day appears very similar to our current time period. The protagonist, Jacob Portman, constantly mentions the technological advances we now have. This was necessary because the children have not experienced the future (which is the protagonist’s present); the 1940s was a very different place and time. That’s what makes it relatable to the reader; it draws you into another world – of fantasy and magic – and brings you back to the present day.
7. It’s one big adventure through and through!
If you’re looking for a rollicking good time, this book delivers it in spades! Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children lays the foundation for a trilogy that promises to be filled with adventures – discovery of the self, of new things, and of the truth. The story’s pace will keep you on your toes and asking for more by the time you reach the last page.
Get a copy of the book here.