Sunday, April 12, 2015

First big book review gets a little peculiar!

Miss Peregrine`s Peculiar Children  review

Ahoy, readers!

This time I have a non-travel blog post for you! Recently, I`ve been working hard on finishing up Reverie, but the ending is giving me a bit of trouble. Now, when writer`s block comes on, the best cure is to lose myself in another writer`s world for a bit. So, I downloaded my handy Overdrive app (wonderful device for e-reading if you have a library card,) and started going through my lists of recommendations, which led me to read Miss Peregrine`s House for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Two of the series are out now! 

Here's the first: 

And the second:

I read both. There's also a graphic novel version out, as well! And, naturally, there's going to be a film released next year!

Now, I usually don`t do reviews on already mainstream books. My fiction features usually include indie authors, such as myself, or those who are only on the e-book shelves, again such as myself. I feel there are too many reviews out there for the popular books and that mine won`t make much of a splash. Well, Riggs`s story has made me change my mind and compelled me to review –or really gush over—this amazing world of past, present, and peculiar characters.

            Jacob Portman is a teenage boy who grew up somewhat of a loner. With only one friend to claim, Jacob spent most of his childhood listening to his hero, his grandfather Abe`s childhood stories. As Jacob grew, he realized his grandfather`s tales of his time in a foster home were fantastical representations of the truth. Jacob even began to realize how bogus his grandfather`s old photos looked. Is it really that difficult to make it look like a girl can levitate? And how hard is it to stuff some clothes to make it look like an invisible boy is wearing them? Jacob`s parents reminded him of the horrors his grandfather experienced as a Polish Jew in WWII and convinced Jacob that Abe`s peculiar stories were ways to cope with his actual memories of the past. As Grandpa Abe descended into what Jacob`s parents believed to be dementia, Jacob grew apart from his childhood hero and accepted his lonely, mundane life. It wasn`t until his grandfather died a gruesome and inexplicable death that Jacob`s world took a most peculiar turn. His grandfather`s stories didn`t seem so bogus after all. In fact ,they were the key to Jacob beginning his own adventure.

Why I loved it:

            First, I`m a sucker for anything involving historical fiction, especially if it involves WWII. After learning that the story focuses on Jacob`s grandfather`s past for a lot of the book, I knew I would be interested in the plot. What I didn`t know what how in-depth Riggs takes both Jacob`s and Abe`s stories, intertwining, analyzing, and expanding both of the Portman men`s lives in ways unimaginable. Riggs cleverly combines his own fantasy world with actual events of the past, such as the London air raids. I`m also a sucker for an average-boy-turned hero story, if that`s not obvious. Jacob reminded me a lot of Devon, both suffer from the teenage affliction of low self-esteem. The power of friendship and believing in oneself helps both heroes attain their goals. I also have to hand it to Riggs for writing in first person. Anyone can write from a character`s perspective, but it takes a true author to have empathy for a character he creates. Riggs doesn`t write Jacob so much as he feels for Jacob as he delves deeper into his story of becoming a hero. Even though this is a YA work, there are a lot of deep revelations Jacob experiences throughout the story. I really enjoyed reading these, as teenagers often have the capacity to feel as much as to think as deeply as adults. It was a great contrast of kiddie adventure and not-quite-adult harsh reality.
            The coolest bit, of course, is that Riggs places actual vintage photos throughout his stories. Though they are of real people from times in the past, they fit perfectly to serve as a visual for characters and events throughout the story. Also, I learned that people took weird pictures back in the day! Riggs gives credit to all of the photos uses at the end of each story.

Who should read this:
            I first have to encourage people of the YA age to read this. I`d say 7th-high school is age-appropriate. There is a bit of a romance going on, but it`s all PG. Even the brief moments of nudity are comical and can be likened to the kind of humor one will see in Diary of a Wimpy Kid so no worries there. Some of the monsters can be a bit scary, so any kids who are afraid of the dark might want to find a lighter book to read. I also encourage adults who are still into YA fiction or write for the genre to read these stories. If you want to see a non-conventional fantasy story work, and work well, this is a must-read.
            First two books are out now! The third will be out September, 2015!

Until next time, keep readin and dreamin!


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