Saturday, August 24, 2013

what makes you special?

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Genre: fantasy
Review: This book is a wonderful mix of the fantastic and the mundane.  It's an ordinary world, but some people have "peculiarities" - invisibility, the ability to levitate, or create and control a ball of fire, and the like.

Although the premise of ordinary-kid-finds-out-he-has-extraordinary-powers is a bit worn-out these days, Riggs manages to turn it into something new.  I don't know whether it's the somewhat-disturbing photos that are sprinkled through the book that keep it grounded, or the fact that Jacob's "peculiarity" doesn't seem all that phenomenal, but whatever it is, it makes this book read more like fiction than fantasy.  I'll take either, and don't mean to make a judgment-call about fiction over fantasy here.  I only mean to say that Riggs has a very deft touch as a writer.

Unfortunately, his touch his not so deft when it comes to explaining the idea of a "loop".  The idea is that the "peculiarity" exhibited by some people is that they can create a loop of time that continuously resets itself as long as its creator can maintain control over it.  I get that, and I can even wrap my head around the seeming-inconsistency that, although the people outside the loop are completely unaware of it, what happens to people inside the loop is permanent (everyone inside the loop remembers everything, if someone dies, they stay dead, even after the loop resets, etc.).  What I couldn't make square was that people from both inside and outside the loop can enter and leave at will, as long as they know where the entrance is, without there being any impact on the loop itself.  There are going to be more books about the peculiar children, so perhaps this will be explained, or perhaps I just need to take it on faith, but as it stands it detracted from an otherwise very enjoyable, and subtle, story.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.

No comments: