Category Archives: Book Review: Time Travel

Review of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
By Ransom Riggs
Published by Quirk Books
352 pages

This book is what I would call fantasy and adventure. It’s a bit like the X-mencomic book and movie series because it’s about people born with unique abilities, who live in a special school, and who have to fight against others with similar abilities. But it’s different because the heroes of the story are teenagers, there’s a whole lot of time travel involved, and most of all, the public doesn’t know anything about the characters’ peculiar abilities. Also, every day at the children’s home is the same day: Sept 3, 1943. It’s the same twenty four hours over and over again; never September 4, never the 5th. Oh, and by the way, on September 3, 1943 the Germans bombed the island where they live.

Jacob Portman is the main character of the story. He is a typical sixteen-year-old teenager; there’s nothing about him that makes him stand out against most of his peers. When I think about it now, his character is rather wooden. But when I read the book, he didn’t seem that way at all. I know that doesn’t make sense. It’s as if his environment and everything that happens to him gave him a personality. But, he’s also the narrator and the focus of the story.

Then there’s Miss Peregrine. She is the headmistress of the children’s home. She reminds me a bit of Ms. McGonagall from the Harry Potter series. They’re both strict but kind, always know what’s right, and act like caring aunts to the children. There are also other important characters in the story, with many with neat abilities, but you’ll need to read it to learn about them.

I really like this book because the plot, which is basically good versus evil, is not too complicated or too simple and moves forwards at a steady pace. The writing in the story is very descriptive, and works well with the pictures. The pictures, like the one on the cover, are old black and white photographs that actually inspired the book. The author explained at the end of the story that he likes to collect old photographs, especially ones that are unusual, and then created a story around his favorites. The photos all have an aspect to them that’s not exactly menacing, but not friendly, and are perfect for this story (you can check out some of his other photos on his website (scroll down to the “found photographs”); these aren’t digitally altered like those in the book, but are still strange and interesting).

After I read the book, I saw the movie, which recently came out.  I was expecting the movie to follow the book more closely than it actually did. While there are basic similarities between the two, the movie actually tells a rather different story. Some of the differences bothered me a bit, especially when two main characters were swapped around. But otherwise, the movie is well done.

I really enjoyed this adventure, and recommend it to anyone aged 12+ who likes unusual adventure stories. By-the-way, this book is the first in a series of three books.



Review of the Emerson’s Attic series: “Blue Velvet” and “Smoke and Mirrors”

Emerson’s Attic series: Blue Velvet & Smoke and Mirrors
By Kathleen A. Davise a 2e a 1
Published by Jemerson Press
122 / 140 pages

I was asked to review these books by a promoter who was doing a ‘review tour’ for the series. I was very excited when I got the email. This is my first time accepting an invitation to review a new book. I decided to review both books together because they have things in common and they both were easy to read.

Emerson McBride is a 14-year-old girl who lives in an old Victorian house somewhere in America. Both books are about how Emerson travels back in time where she meets some of her ancestors. But she doesn’t know they are her family until she goes back to her own time. In the first book she meets family on her father’s side, and in the second it’s her mother’s side.

In both books, Emerson takes the place of somebody else in the past. She doesn’t take over that person’s body. She and the person exchange places in time. Emerson doesn’t know this in the first book, but somehow knows it in the second book. In the first book she goes back in time alone to a late 19th century English manor owned by a wealthy family. In the second she goes with her friend Sarah to a mid-20th century traveling circus.

I like Emerson because she is determined and loyal. For example, when she followed the kidnappers in the first book she was determined to catch them and get Genevieve back home. She is also daring. In the second book when she was riding a circus horse, she tried to do a trick that she had seen in a 21th century circus.

I also really like Hannah who only appears in the second book. Hannah is deaf, but her other senses are much sharper than usual. She is the only one in both of the books that realizes that Emerson has taken the place of the person in the past. I like Hannah because she has challenges, like being deaf, which she doesn’t allow to get in her way. She is also smart and friendly.

I should say that the stories do have a few gaps. For example, in the second book Emerson tells Sarah that when they go back in time, the people they take the place of, travel forward in time. However, nothing explains how Emerson knows that. The books also do not explain what happens to the people who go forward in time. I think maybe Ms. Davis should think about writing a story that fills in these gaps.

Over all, I really enjoyed both books and think girls ages 9-13 will also like them.