Saturday, 15 October 2016

Book Review--Tales of the Peculiar

Riggs has done it again!  

Tales of the Peculiar is a singular achievement in that it supports the Miss Peregrine's series (you can read my previous reviews of  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City, and Library of Souls) but can also stand alone as a set of fairy tales that can be enjoyed in their own right, independent of the Peregrine epoch.
Each tale introduces a character, many of them the first peculiar of their respective homes. It records their awakening to their own abilities as well as the realization that a mark of distinction such as this is not always understood, valued or even tolerated by the broader world.  While some are heartbreaking others show a glimmer of hope and even acceptance.

There are several footnotes by the 'author' Millard Nullings and a few of his notes at the ends of the fables to lend credence to the fictional author's knowledge and authority. The stories themselves have an ominous, creepy feel to them but, like the rest of the series, do not glory in the grotesque just for the sake of fright (anybody read Goosebumps?  Those are gross just to be scary with no other intention or redeeming intellectual value). Additionally, the wood engraved illustrations are wonderful and match the tone of the stories.  Andrew Davidson's precision and delicacy with the medium is awe-inspiring.

I knew it was going to be a good book when I perused the publication data page and saw that it was "Printed in a nomad's tent in the desert of Lop, known to some as the Great Lop Depression..." and "Bound at great expense in a facility deep underground, the entrance to which ... you should not attempt to locate, for your own safety."  And the final plea, "Please don't read the third story in this collection aloud backward. The publisher cannot be held responsible for what may occur."

If you enjoyed the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series, you will find this a satisfying addition.  If you haven't read it (and you should) but enjoy fables and fairy tales, you will also find this enjoyable!

p.s. since I was a loyal library patron, I borrowed all of these from my local public library but if anyone wants to know what a good Christmas gift might be for me... (hint hint hint)

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