Lots of books I’ve been reading lately guys! Or at least lots of book reviews I’ve been getting done.
I had heard nothing about this book until I happened to be checking books in and somebody returned it. The cover is immediately arresting (let’s be honest, we all judge books by their covers) and after flipping through the book I decided to check it out.
I’m not sure what came first, the story or the photos, but Riggs has created a story around 2 dozen or so weird and absolutely beautiful photographs. Most amazing of all is that they are all real, by which I mean that they were not created or manipulated for the story in any way. At some points the attempt to fit interesting photos into the story feels a little forced, but they are all worth seeing so it does not matter so much.
The protagonist, Jacob, is sixteen years old. He is rich and friendless and lives a completely unremarkable life in south Florida made interesting only by the unusual stories his beloved grandfather tells him of his life living in an orphanage with “peculiar” children (with many photographic examples) and traveling the world. Except recently, his grandfather seems to descending further into his dementia. Jacob goes to check on him one evening, only to find that he has been brutally murdered and worse, murdered by a monster that only Jacob can see. Eventually, after months of psychiatric treatment, Jacob and his family feel that a trip to Wales to visit the home his grandfather grew up in would be the best solution to helping Jacob get over his death.
Except once there Jacob wanders into a loop; a loop that has been protecting Miss Peregrine and all her peculiar children from harm and the dangers of the monsters and the wights who serve them. We get to meet all the children his grandfather grew up (with more photographs!) and realize along with Jacob that his grandfather’s stories were true.
The story ends fairly neatly, although there is clearly a sequel in the works (or at least desired by the author). If so, I look forward to reading it. I love graphic novels and I love novels with beautiful illustrations. A novel with gorgeous and unusual photographs is something different and unique. I would love to see more of them.