Read: 22 December, 2012
Jacob Portman is wealthy, has no friends, and has the most interesting grandfather. Grandpa Portman had escaped from the Nazis in Poland, made it to an orphanage on a tiny Welsh island, joined the war efforts in World War II, performed in a circus, and travelled the world. Growing up, Jacob loved to hear his grandfather’s stories, particularly about the peculiar children in the orphanage. That is, until he decided that none of it was real.
Miss Peregrine is a delightful story about grief after the death of a loved one, and the conflicting emotions of trying to find out who, exactly, the person you so loved for so many years really was (and of the risk of finding out things that you may wish you had never known). It’s also about magic, friendship, responsibility, and the downsides of immortality.
The book was apparently inspired by looking at old photographs collected by the author and acquaintances. The special gimmick of the novel is that these photographs are integrated throughout the text. It adds something to the story, I think – helping to create an atmosphere. That isn’t to say that the text requires the images. The quality of the writing is very good, and could easily stand alone without the use of a gimmick.
Without giving too much away, I will say that the ending very much feels like it ought to be the middle. I think it’s great that we were given so much time to get to know Jacob before the action started, but it does mean that the book ends with something of a cliff hanger. The good news is that there’s apparently going to be a sequel released sometime in 2013, so we shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out what happens!
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