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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Book Review: 23:27 by H.L. Roberts

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (#1) by Ransom Riggs

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
Series: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
Book Number: 1
Author(s): Ransom Riggs 
Genre: Fiction - Fantasy 
Finished: June 28, 2012

A young boy named Jacob recalls the strange stories his grandfather Abe used to tell him as a child. They were fantastical stories of children with special powers. Grandfather Abe was even able to furnish proof using old photographs of things like a floating girl, a boy covered in bees, and invisible boy. As children do, young Jacob believed his grandfather. Yet as the boy grew to a teenager, he began to doubt his grandfather's stories until they became just that: stories. It wasn't until the untimely and violent death of his grandfather at the hands of a horrific creature that it seemed only Jacob could see that Jacob began to wonder if the stories may be just a little more real than he imagined. His grandfather leaves him with a cryptic message that sends him off on a journey to find the old children's home in Wales that Abe was placed in as a child, of course Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Naturally, like most people who sincerely believe in monsters, Jacob is sent to a shrink who decides that it is for his own good that Jacob go to Wales. According to Dr, Golan, it is the only way for Jacob to truly see that what his grandfather told him cannot be real. Except what Jacob finds instead is that the home was real and the children do exist. They exist in a loop in the past, repeating the same day over and over, the very day that their home was bombed and all the children killed. Miss Peregrine is one of a special sort of peculiar person, a shapechanger (a bird) who can manipulate time. There are loads of other pockets of loops throughout the world and time, each sustained by a headmistress who maintains the loop. The plot thickens with the introduction of hollowgast, creatures that feed off of peculiar children. These monsters, remnants of a time experiment gone wrong, are aided by wights who find them their peculiars to consume. This book was a very quick read and it combines a number of photographs with the story. I both liked and disliked the inclusion of photographs. Yes they added to the story, but it's not a perfect system. You can see that some photos are obviously fake, some portray the same people in the story but are noticeably of different individuals, and some just seem thrown in there and mentioned in the text to make room for them. Sometimes it was obvious that the pictures were writing details of the plot, not the other way around. And I found that to be cheating a bit. Maybe I am just picky. I thought the story was unique enough to be novel because don't we all want to believe that something magical exists in our otherwise mundane world? And the thought of these kids existing in some infinite time loop the day they all were to die helps curb the sheer morbidity that sits at the foundation of the storyline. Plus, monsters. It's just disturbing enough to please those who like to be disturbed, but sweet enough that people who reject disturbing things can sleep at night. I feel like the wind up to the climax of the plot was too long, and the climax was too fast. Or really, not as powerful as I would have liked. I will admit that I very much enjoyed the story and don't regret reading it. I need to stop focusing so much on the bad in everything and start shedding more light on the good. It is undoubtedly a book worth a read, and it blurs the line between horror and fantasy, between heartwarming and disturbing, which are all things that I very much love and appreciate. I just look forward to the sequel one day so that I can feel satisfied.