This book by Ransom Riggs features all-new stories that will take us deeper into the Peculiar world.
Since Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is hitting theaters this month (directed by Tim Burton), and with the book trilogy doing so well, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to this set of vibrant, weird, scary, and enchanting tales.
Illustrated by Andrew Davidson, in gorgeous woodcut engravings, the tales follow some of the secrets of the Peculiar Universe, such as the birth of the first Ymbryne, and some of the strange abilities that these beings possess.
The first tale, about a legion of rich cannibals and a town full of peculiars that can grow their limbs back just like lizards, made me cringe at first. Some YA really pushes the boundary between appropriate and not appropriate, but the tale got me curious and then hooked. It’s just like that Mark Twain’s story, The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg , or the one where two competing families use up the wealth of their island just for showing off. There is no limit to greed. In crafting such a weird tale, Riggs sets up the tone for the rest of the book.
The characters themselves are interesting in odd ways: the princess that has a two-forked tongue and has never told anybody; the girl who wants to befriend ghosts and is equally put upon by both the living and the undead; the pigeons of Saint Paul’s Cathedral… they all are really very peculiar.
With a Victorian style for writing and a capacity for subtle humor, the tales read as cautionary fables, rich with peril and phantasy, and will be enjoyed by teens and adults alike.
My favorite story was definitely “Cocobolo.” A Chinese merchant is afraid of being compared to his father, a mysterious and famous explorer that disappeared searching an island by the name of Cocobolo said to feature rubies in its tree branches and liquid gold in its pools. The island exists but is definitely not what he expects. The quest of accepting his father fate is fascinating, to say the least, and it reads just like any tale of the Arabian Nights. Scheherazade would be proud of Ransom Riggs’s stories.
Set to be released on September 3rd to honor the peculiar’s Loop Day, the book has a printed first run of a million copies.
Disclaimer: I received a copy for review purposes.