Review No.202 – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children No.1) – Ransom Riggs

Quirk Books, 2011

There was a time when Jacob trusted that life could be extraordinary, but at the age of sixteen, he doesn’t believe his grandfather Abe’s stories of monsters and magic any more. He recognises them for what they are: a Holocaust survivor’s way to explain his experiences to a na├»ve grandchild. Then one night Jacob finds Abe’s body in the woods, and is the only one who can see what killed him. The horrific mystery forces him to retrace his grandfather’s footsteps back to source of his stories – a remote island off the coast of Wales, and a very peculiar children’s home.

This is Riggs’s first novel and has a very unusual format, constructed around vintage photographs that range from enigmatic to deeply creepy. These give the story a sinister patina that the actual plot can’t quite live up to. I didn’t find Jacob an especially engaging protagonist, and what he uncovers was a bit too simplistic for my taste. The ideas and design are very original, though, and Riggs has continued the story with a sequel, Hollow City.