“I couldn’t square my grandfather’s idyllic stories with this nightmare house, nor the idea that he’d found refuge here with the sense of disaster that pervaded it. There was more left to explore, but suddenly it seemed like a waste of time; it was impossible that anyone could still be living here, even the most misanthropic recluse. I left the house feeling like I was further than ever from the truth.”
Rating: 4 stars
Age Recommendation: Young Adult and up.
Warnings: Character death, potentially frightening images, cursing.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has a particularly striking cover and is presented alongside old photos. Some might assume that this would take away from the text, but the pictures only make the text even more engaging. The written descriptions alone, however, are capable of instilling a sense of unease in the reader.
I, personally, did not feel that this book was very frightening although it is listed as part of the horror genre. Perhaps that is because the main character is a teenager, but it struck me as more of a mystery or even an action novel. The creatures within the story might be rather frightening for younger readers, however, and thus feel more fitting for the genre in question in their opinions.
Set both in current day as well as during World War 2, Riggs offers a fantasy cast of characters that have fantastic abilities and are capable of time travel toward the past or the present. Jacob, the main character, grew up hearing stories about these people but cannot allow himself to believe that his grandfather is right about them. When tragedy strikes, however, he finds himself making a trip to Wales in order to find out for himself.
Family issues plague his home life, even beyond everyone thinking his grandfather is mad, and Jacob is required to make difficult decisions after he learns the truth about his grandfather’s past. Riggs creates a lore that is shockingly plausible within the story and allows characters to form believable relationships without any of it feeling forced.
Potentially the most interesting part of the whole work is that the pictures came first. Riggs collected a variety of strange old photos and fashioned this story around them, and it is extremely creative. If you are open to a mystery, some magic and a lot of time travel, this is quite a page turner.