Sixteen year old Jacob Portman goes to Wales on a search to find out the truth about his Grandfather’s past and unbelievable demise. There he meets Emma, a “strikingly pretty” girl who not only knows Jacob’s grandfather but can control fire. She takes Jacob to meet Miss Peregrine, who, accompanied by some very Peculiar Children, is stuck in a time loop set back in 1940, throwing Jacob into a mysterious situation full of strange killings and peculiarity.
What really stood out to me in this book was the real dark and almost gothic feel to the plot, this mixed with vintage photographs, setting and great characterisation makes for a refreshingly new style of YA novel. Ransom Riggs seems to take the paranormal YA novel to a whole new level, putting other writers to shame with his unique blend of paranormal and character development. It was just a wonderful eccentric read and the vintage photographs were a nice touch; you feel like you know these characters and then you can look at the photos of them.
I think this is a cliché but for a debut novel, Ransom Riggs has shown great skill and love for his craft, developing a beautiful and slightly weird world. Riggs has stated there will be a sequel and I, for one, am looking forward to returning to this world and seeing where Jacob’s adventures will take him. This book has that dark and gloomy feel about it, almost like a horror movie, but yet the story never feels like it will become too dark. To give you an idea of the type of novel this is, 20th Century Fox are planning to adapt it into a film and want Jane Goldman (Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) to write the screen play and have Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sweeney Todd) direct.
For people that like a little darkness in their YA novels this is a book you should check out. I’ve never been a fan of paranormal novels but this is just a perfect example of the genre being done well. The mystery, the characters, setting and plotting all come together to make this a great YA novel. I’m excited for the sequel and the film adaption.