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Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day....for one and all

Hi there readers!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
First off, allow me to wish each of you a very happy Independence Day.

Let freedom ring and family reign on this national holiday.  Here's hoping your barbecues were hot, the fireworks spectacular and your company pleasurable.  That being said, my post title is partially explained.  Partially.  Allow me to fully divulge my meaning.....

The "for one and all" portion of the title is a segway to today's book review.  As I sit here typing this (yes, actually typing, not "texting" though that smartphone app is quite handy), my pups are being annoyed to no end by the fireworks going off in the neighborhood and my mind is wandering to a book I just recently read where freedom comes at a high cost and is all dependent on your perspective.  It recently celebrated it's book birthday (I having seen a copy in my own local bookstore...whoo-hoo!) and is being toted as a Young Adult title.  Hmm...somehow I didn't envision that one, but it works nonetheless.  Curious yet?  Allow me to end the suspense.  Today's book of choice is....

by
Ransom Riggs

From the publisher....
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs.



It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.


As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather— were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.


This is one title that will have people talking....and in my case, already does.  It's a strange mix of fantasy, reality, and "what ifs" that really beg the reader to open their minds to the possibility of things that shouldn't be but really might.  Abilities hidden in plain site, worlds within worlds within worlds.  Great capacities for goodness as well as unfathomable depths of misguided judgement leading to ruin.  All of this and more is seen here within the pages of this incredible work.  I will say, it keeps you guessing as to the mysteries about to be revealed but only so far as the doorway to each.  As events unfold, you are also experiencing that dawning awareness of what will happen at the same moment...or rather seconds prior so that it's a pleasant surprise rather than an annoyance. 

The characters are created fully, even those with whom we only have a passing acquaintance.  Jacob's relationship with his grandfather is touching and though the reasons for its depth become more clear as the story progresses, they fail to lessen the initial bond we see...leaving it pure in a familial sense and unscathed by the darkness lurking in the shadows.  Emma Bloom is quite the "young" lady and with a temper to boot!  She plays a vital role in both Jacob's and his grandfather's life....how so?  You'll see.  ^_^  Miss Peregrine herself is an enigma of sorts....at first.  Her carefully concealed intensity comes to light as a startling turn of events prevents her from sheltering her "brood" from the evil that is coming, but suffice it to say that I wouldn't want to anger the woman if at all possible.  She is MUCH more powerful in her quiet ways than meets the eye.  As for the evil I mentioned, yeah...it's evil and scary looking and just ~shudders~...certainly memorable to put a word on it.  The list of characters goes on and on but rather than disclose everyone and everything, I'll allow you to make those discoveries on your own.

The story itself is crafted with care and laced together with details to satisfy the more curious amongst us. The visuals created are astounding, while the emotional range the characters are put through captivate the heart and mind. You won't see just where the story is leading but you will certainly enjoy tagging along as one of Jacob's invisible chums. Pick your way along the boggy path, pass the stench of the abandoned sanctuary turned sheep pen, and make your way into a world where things aren't always as they seem.  You won't believe your eyes as the stranger side of life is revealed and painted in a light of truth, while at the same time weaving a fantastical story that couldn't possibly have roots in reality but feels real all the same.  Wonderful job to this first time novelist.
One thing that HAS to mentioned is the uniqueness to be found within the book's presentation.  I gotta say, I absolutely love it!  The book is physically styled like a rather think journal with "Alma LeFay Peregrine" signed in gold on the actual hard cover beneath the jacket.  Beyond the cover, you have many other marvels to contend with from the rich brown and black designed pages inserted to denote a chapter change or as a matting for the photos included with the text.  That's right...photos.  Much like the cover image, they are "peculiar" in nature whether taken individually or as a whole and they crop up over the course of the story as Jacob uncovers them himself.  Speaking of Jacob, there are occasions where he happens upon a letter or book with an inscription or what not, and guess what?  You are privy to these correspondences as well not only in word but in script and image.  It reminds me of a grown up version of the children's book The Jolly Postman....and it works VERY WELL. 

Now for the piece de resistance....the awesome-tastic book trailer!  Yep, that's right.  That was me toting the "wonderful-ness" of a book trailer.  Hey, it doesn't happen often, but it does happen.  Enough ridicule from you, ENJOY THE SHOW!  (-grabs popcorn-)



Still not sold on whether this is a book worthy of your wish list?  Hmm....tough case aren't you.  Well, how's about a glimpse INSIDE the cover?  Click on over to Quirk Books and check out the Prologue....no, wait, make that Chapter 1.....no wait....wow!  Hold the phones.  You can check out the Prologue THROUGH Chapter 3!  Pretty sweet deal if I do say so myself.  Oh and did I fail to mention that the movie rights have already been sold as well?  Oh, well just in case...consider yourself informed.  ^_^  For more information on that bit of exciting news, check out this article (link courtesy of Eric at Quirk Books....thanks!).  

In summary, did I enjoy it?  Definitely.  Will I be watching to see if a sequel is headed for the printing presses in the near future?  You bet.  Would I recommend it to you?  Yes...just be sure if you are easily spooked, you read it during daylight hours or perhaps with a furry friend close by.  After all, the world is filled with strange and wonderful things, both those we are aware of and those we aren't.  Sometimes those things that are so wondrous though can be dangerous as well....just like an over-active imagination.

Review copy courtesy of Eric at Quirk Books. (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their full and varied catalog, check them out online or follow along on Twitter.

Until next time...happy reading!

5 comments:

....Petty Witter said...

Despite a seriously eerie cover (I'm reminded of the twins in the film The Shining) I must, must have a copy of this.

Susan said...

This book looks and sounds amazing. I can't wait to read it.

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

SOLD! I've been nervous for this one but think now I'll have to give it a go :D

GMR said...

Petty Witter: Ooh, yes...the pic's included reminded me of that film as well! Would love to hear what you think about it once you've read it.... ^_^

Susan: Definitely is!

Mel: *high five* Happy reading! ^_^

Misha said...

A belated Happy Independence day to you!
I have been dying to get my hands on the book since the first time I saw it.The book trailer is one of the best I have seen.

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