Living with Peculiar Children
One day not so long ago I was browsing the Kobo bookshop for a new eBook when I came across a very interesting sounding young adult fantasy story. Well that’s what the cover suggested. And per usual I was hooked by curiosity. So I bought it and plunged in. When I came up for breath I just had to buy the two sequels.
Now what was it about the cover that fascinated me? Well, only the amazing image of the so called vernacular kind. For those like me who have no idea what this means, these are photos of normal day life that can take on the appearance of an artful positioning.
Maybe you remember from your childhood, looking at photos like this. Thinking about contortionists, very posed children and stern faced adults. Observing marvellous animals. The author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and the following books had collected a number of these vintage photos for himself. Then he decided to write a story around them. And what a tale it is.
Artful you say. Well what else would you call it when the young girl on the cover appears to be hovering just off the ground. Meet the lighter than air Olive.
Actually they don’t get to the big city with large clocks until the second book but it goes to show what you can do with old photos when you use your imagination. Some young lady most certainly levitated here.
Ransom Riggs has a marvellous imagination and intertwines the yarn around these old photos with a masterful skill.
Buried Within a Time Loop
Threads of Peculiarity
The Peculiar Children books are basically noted as Young Adult Fantasy. However, as per many fantasy books there are touches of other fantasy themes threaded through them. Predominantly a dark fantasy, some urban myth shows up as the children and the peregrine have abilities that the ‘real’ word scorns to believe exists.
And I suppose if you believe peculiars are not real then some place very closely related to our earth and history runs snugly parallel, where characters can float from one to the other with relative ease.
Then there is the epic hero who fights evil and a touch of fantastic romance that ‘kisses’ the tale as it proceeds.
Amazing Events to Stir the Blood
Set in Florida, Wales and England the story follows its nose through the set of amazing events that take place in these conjoining parallel earths.
Start with a grandfather in Florida and impossible tales. Follow on to the world that doesn’t believe and leads to shrinks. Goodness me it is enough to make you not want to tell people anything outside the normal. And the shrink leads to Wales. But all is not what it seems.
Children caught in a time loop that our hero manages to time travel to. And what do you have? The basis of a riotously good adventure. And all the children are pretty peculiar. Now that allows for some pretty good tricks too!
Hollowgasts and Wights
Then there are the bad guys who want to subsume the peculiars. Strange enough to make you shiver. in your shoes. The nightmare figures once were human like you or me. But greed and the search for power changed them into Hollowgasts. And they became the bane of the peculiar children and their mistresses.
Hollowgasts are not the dead end of the bad guys though. Some evolve into Wights. Even badder guys. Wights are smarter and they crave power.
The pot is getting crowded with all this peculiarity. We have tentacle mouthed baddies, fire throwing young ladies, ones influenced by air and the earth. And a young fellow who likes fooling around with the hearts of recently deceased beings.
What peculiarities come Next?
Not long after reading the book, the movie came out. And I went and watched it, not something I usually do when a movie comes from a book. Too many fingers stirring the plot often moves a long way from the original good story. This movie didn’t stray too far but if you haven’t seen it yet I really recommend reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children first. The changes made for the movie will certainly compound if one or two sequels are made based on the next two books. Without that original plot the following books will need more twitching and tweaking as the base facts have changed.
Oh, you could look the changes up but what is the fun in that! Both book and movie are enjoyable but I prefer the book.
And as for the basic category of fantasy being Young Adult, well you are only as young as you feel and think. So this category suited me perfectly. If you too are young at heart and like a really good read, head off to Kobo and take a look at the eBook. Or if, like me, you love actual books Booktopia has them for you.
Each creature’s link to the Peculiar Children’s books is done through a link to Ransom Riggs. This way you can obtain each book individually, procure the boxed set or look at other peculiar books Ransom has created.
I predict you will love them and reread them many times.