28 October 2011
Two Creepies for Halloween, My Thoughts on Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Ben Winters, Bedbugs
Title:Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher/Price: Quirk, $17.99
Genre: YA, Gothic, Pastiche
Where I got it: From the publisher for review
Challenges: Gothic Reading Challenge
Both of the books in this post were graciously provided to me by Quirk Books. Both of the books in this post have cool looking black and white covers. Both books in this post are kind of creepsters.
Ransom Riggs book is pretty cool, because it has pictures. It has found photographs of kids doing creepy things, like levitating, to be exact. I'm a big fan of pictures, but not always in books. It breaks the flow a little bit for me and sort of stultifies my imagination. That said, the pictures in this book were very intriguing, and the story is very cinematic (no surprise that it will be a movie) and so they work.
The story concerns a young boy, Jacob, whose grandfather began telling him ghostly stories about growing up in a children's home on an isle in Whales, when he was just a wee lad. It is all very dark and stormy night stuff. Then his grandfather is killed, supposedly by animals, and the story begins. Jacob wishes to travel to this mystery island, and see this strange home for himself, so he convinces his father to come along with him and off they go. When he arrives, he finds that it is a whole new and strange world, and he is pretty strange it turns out as well. There is definitely some supernatural shenanigans in the book, but not until the latter half, which stands poised for a sequel.
The book is technically young adult, but I found the writing to be sophisticated and enjoyed spending some time in the world of Jacob, who has just the right amount of teen angst mingling with his genuine confusion and grief about the death of his grandfather and the unbelievable world that he is thrust into as a result. All in all, it was a fun Halloween read and I think I'll surely pick up the sequel.
Author: Ben Winters
Publisher/Price: Quirk $14.95
Where I got it: From the publisher for review.
And then there is Winters book, which is much more for adults to be sure.
Susan and Alex are a couple of typical Manhattanites, living with a small child, who decide that their current apartment is a bit small, and decide to move to Brooklyn. They think they have found the perfect place: charming neighborhood, low rent, quirky landlady. But quickly (seriously quickly, I think the whole book takes place over like a week) things start getting creepy. They might have bedbugs... or worse.
I don't really want to say a lot about this one, because I don't want to give anything away. I have to make a confession as a reader... I don't really get scared by books, and I really want to. The scariest things in this book are the illustrations of the bedbugs, which make my skin crawl. There were some definite twists and turns in the plot of the book that compelled me to keep reading and buzz through the pages. It is definitely a horror book, but it isn't overly gory (in my opinion, but I have a pretty high threshold for these things).
Susan, the main character in the book is really irritating, which is one of the reasons that I think I wasn't as scared for her as I should have been. However, some of her character quirks and flaws seem to create the ambiguity that is necessary to hold the reader's attention, rapt until the end. So, I guess I have to be bigger reader and not say that one of the things that I didn't like was that I couldn't relate to the main character. Which I said anyway. But I fully acknowledge it as a reviewerly cliche.
I'm not a big reader of horror books, but I did like this one. I definitely hope I never have bedbugs.