Book Review – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children & Soulless

I just read two of the most interesting books I’ve ever read! (Aren’t you jealous?….) One for being different and innovative, the other for being just plain fun. You are in for a treat my fellow readers…enjoy!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is the debut novel by Ransom Riggs (could his name sound more made up? – but I digress). Ransom has a fun hobby – he goes to auctions, garage sales, etc.. and looks for old photographs that interest him. Maybe they have writing on them that adds something to the image, maybe it is a particularly striking image but either way he picks these photos up. What does this have to do with his book? Riggs has used photos from his other similarly minded friends and created a world. A fantasy world filled with “peculiar” children.

The story goes that young sophomore Jacob Portman has been told fantastical stories about an island where his grandfather lived as a child during WWII to escape from the Nazis. His grandfather shows him pictures of “peculiar” children and tells him about how happy he was living there. His grandfather dies in front of his eyes after what he thinks is a horrific accident with a cryptic dying utterance. Jacob decides to visit the island in Wales to deal with the trauma of his loss and possibly discover what his grandfather wanted him to seek out. When he gets to the island, he discovers the house has been abandoned and dilapidated. Jacob thinks he is going crazy but he hears children at the house and sees things move. It gets even crazier when he actually starts meeting and talking with the children of the home – who appear unchanged since the photographs were taken – in 1940!  Is Jacob going crazy or will he discover the secret of Miss Peregrine’s home?

I really enjoyed this book. One of the things that made it delightful were the accompanying photographs of the children and the home. All of the photographs are actually vintage from collections and really add to the flavor of the book. The story is fun YA fantasy with a little gothic flavor thrown in. You have the feeling when you look at the pictures that these people are sideshow freaks turned into heroes. Because of the pictures I have to strongly recommend getting the paper copy – it’s totally worth it.

My only beef with this book was some lack of character development. While Jacob is a believable teenage boy with his own sensitivities, hangups and boyish confidence, the other characters in the book were not fleshed out too much. The ending of the book seemed ripe for a sequel so I’m hoping that we will get more info in subsequent books. That being said, this is a fun YA book especially if you like fantasy. I give it four stars.

Three Appeals: Unique appearance/photos, thrilling, fantasy aspects

Red Flags : Some violence, some language – very mild

On to the next book – Soulless by Gail Carriger. Can you say OB-sessed? Because that is what I am !!!! Some of you may remember me recommending this book in my Clockwork Angel post as an adult steampunk book. It is steampunk but it is so much more – it’s a little bit comedy, a little bit mystery, mixed in with paranormal fantasy not to mention delicious Scottish romance. Ok so here is the lowdown…. Alexia Tarabotti has a problem. Some upstart vampire just tried to attack her and then had the bad manners to also die! Now Lord Maccon, the Queen Victoria’s head paranormal investigator, and also hot Scottish werewolf, has been sent to investigate the death. What makes this death seem so peculiar is that Alexia is soulless, she has the ability to nullify any paranormal powers that either vampires or werewolves possess, so she is typically avoided like the plague by both of the paranormal sects. When more strange vampire deaths happen and Alexia’s files are stolen from Lord Maccon’s office, the pair must find out what is going on in London. If they can keep from killing each other.

OMG – have I mentioned that I really loved this book! Is it the next great literary novel? No. But it is a lot of fun and you can read it in about two days (if you shun all human contact and hunker down in a chair like I did). I give this book four and a half stars. The story was fun and not predictable. The romantic elements were everything you wanted them to be – sassy and a little bit dangerous but still within the bounds of proper English society. The paranormal alternative world that Carriger has created is really different – vampires and werewolves are out in society and even accepted by the English Victorian royals. (Americans get the short end of the stick – we are the bigoted zealots across the pond hunting down our fanged and furry brethren). This book also has this great tone of humor throughout – mostly at the little civilized rules of the English society in the face of these paranormal creatures. The last thing I’m going to mention is that this is the first book in the series “The Parasol Protectorate” – I mean seriously how delightful is that??

Three Appeals : paranormal romance, steampunk, mystery

Red Flags: gory, sexual situations, some language (pretty mild)

So go right now and put a hold on these books at the library … go ahead I’ll wait! ………

As always, please leave me a comment when you read these books and let me know what you think.

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Filed under book review, fantasy, four stars, paranormal, Romance, YA

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