Saturday, January 7, 2017
Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs
In much the style of J. K. Rowling's The Tales of Beetle the Bard, Ransom Riggs brings us Tales of the Peculiar, a collection of fables from the universe of Riggs' bestselling series that I reviewed awhile back. I've always really liked fairytales, especially when I got older and found out how dark and serious they were and how twisted the morals could be. Anyone who's read Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children and knowing how dark and fascinating those books are can only fathom how the fairytales of the peculiar universe could be. Let's take a look.
The book begins with a forward by one of the characters of the original series, Millard Nullings the invisible boy. Seeing as he's the most scholarly of Miss Peregrine's wards, he takes it upon himself to rewrite these tales and share them with the current times. There are ten tales in total telling wild stories of a serpentine princess, a living island, girls who could tame nightmares and befriend the dead, destructive pigeons, and some very polite cannibals.
Each tale, as any good traditional fairy tale would, possesses morals and lessons to be learned by both the peculiar and the normal. The Splendid Cannibals is a cautionary tale of hubris and greed. The Fork-Tongued Princess is a tale of forgiveness and overcoming hardships. The tales of The First Ymbryne and The Boy Who Could Hold Back The Sea hold actual historical value (the latter story revolves around an actual event that took place in history) and clarity in building the world Riggs created in his stories. But many of the lessons are specific to the peculiars themselves, realizing their powers and the difficulties and responsibilities that come with them. When and if they should be shared with the world, or even used at all.
The whole book possesses the macabre wonder of the source material as well as the cleverness. While the stories all have happy endings (some are even edited from Nullings himself so that they end happily), some of them are a bit more bittersweet than the rest. Like the legendary tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, "happily ever after" often comes with a price. Things must be sacrificed, including freedoms and even their peculiar abilities altogether in order to achieve the best possible solution for the situation. I appreciate that about these stories and their lessons, while some are not quite for the faint of heart (I did mention the cannibals, right?) they can be enjoyed by both young and old alike, and also fans of the Miss Peregrine's series and those just picking this up because they're curious and have never heard of the Miss Peregrine series.
Everything you could want in a collection of dark fairytales, Tales is an easy and enjoyable read with wise morals and interesting characters and I'd say it's definitely worth your money at your local bookstore!
Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts.
Next Time: It's retrospective time again as I take a look back at the books whose Very Fascinating Details in regards made the world fall in love with the must unfortunate children in literature....