For anyone who read the rest of the Miss Peregrine series, this book is a delight. Much like the Fantastic Beasts spin-Why I Think Boys May Enjoy This
For anyone who read the rest of the Miss Peregrine series, this book is a delight. Much like the Fantastic Beasts spin-off for Harry Potter, Tales of the Peculiar brings to life a book referenced inside the stories for us to read as its own book. The fables inside this collection are intended to teach lessons to peculiar children (not the normal ones like us), with stories ranging from lessons on greed, humility, and compassion… the same way collections like Aesop’s Fables teach the rest of us.
I am a huge fan of the footnotes and “in character” storytelling aspect of things. Millard Nullings, the invisible boy from the original trilogy (and well known historian among the peculiar children under Miss Peregrine’s wing) is the curator of the anthology. The in character aspect adds an extra level of flair, in the same way that Lemony Snicket as an in-character narrator adds to uniqueness of the Series of Unfortunate Events books or Bartimaeus’s footnotes in The Amulet of Samarkand.
My favorite story was probably the one about the cannibals, which was the lead story in the collection. It really set the pace for both the specificity of peculiar issues the children who would be told these stories would need to know. There is also some great background and tie-ins with the events of the books, and that is always fun! Definitely worth a read for fans of the Miss Peregrine books!
They are stories written as fables for peculiar children so, as such, they are more than appropriate for regular children. Granted, regular children don’t often have to deal with unique powers or being able to regrow limbs, making them ideal candidates for a symbiotic relationship with cannibals. There are similar lessons throughout, sometimes landing the protagonist of the story in a bad spot, but nothing that would preclude children of any age from being able to enjoy the stories as they are told.
Having recently enjoyed another scifi fairytale retelling, I was may more excited to dive into this one. Unlike the lasWhy I Think Boys May Enjoy This
Having recently enjoyed another scifi fairytale retelling, I was may more excited to dive into this one. Unlike the last one I read (Melanie Karsak’s Curiouser & Curiouser, a steampunk Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland retelling), there are way fewer reminders throughout the course of this book that it even *is* a retelling. Meyer started with “Cinderella” as a foundation, but she made it so completely unique that it’s hard to even consider it a true retelling.
The depth of the medical science aspects in this book is fantastic. Meyer clearly dug deep to try to make both her technology and her biomedical elements feel real. I never had a moment while reading where I had to suspend disbelief to a level that didn’t work within the story and that is sometimes hard to do with good scifi.
Every once in a while, there are reminders that we’re in a retelling (ish) such as the fact that one of Cinder’s cyborg parts is her foot. But there are also times where Meyer flips a portion of the retelling so fantastically that it reminds us of the retelling because of its contrast (example: when Cinder arrives at the ball, she catches everyone’s eye… but not for the same reason as in the original). The modification on the relationship with the evil stepmother and stepsisters (the fact that one of them actually isn’t evil and mean is so wonderful) is another great flip.
Overall, this was an amazing story and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series. At this point, it’s just an awesome cyborg-centered scifi with intergalactic implications that I just can’t wait to experience!
Again unlike the last fairy tale retelling I reviewed, this one is most definitely all-ages appropriate. There is, of course, the romantic angle of things (I mean, Meyer couldn’t remove that from a Cinderella story!) but it is simple. It isn’t the “head over heels” early-Disney stuff, either, which shows a progression away from the criticized parts of old fairy tales. There are no language or sexual issues. There is some scifi level violence (including some death, but nothing gruesome).
Where the content gets deeper and what makes me rate this more 12+ versus all ages is the depth of the social issues grappled with in the story. The outcasting of both Cyborgs and Lunars delves into some serious racism/xenophobia problems that parallel reality in a fantastic way. Meyer handles them deftly and not in a heavy-handed “hit you over the head with a moral” way, and the narrative is all that much better because of it. So still content-appropriate for younger audiences, but some increased maturity will improve the experience a lot.
The first review on this blog that is a sequel, but one I have been waiting years to read! I read Excelsior (book 1) shWhy I Think Boys May Enjoy This
The first review on this blog that is a sequel, but one I have been waiting years to read! I read Excelsior (book 1) shortly after release and absolutely loved it. I reviewed it on the blog last year here. I was really excited for the sequel because I really had no idea where the story was going to go next. While Sirois left plenty of backstory and such on the table, Excelsior had a very complete and satisfying ending.
What I feared most was the elevation of Matthew Peters to the demigod Excelsior and that he would immediately become the superman/undefeatable hero type. Sirois did an amazing job very early in this sequel of reminding us that he is still very flawed and still human enough to screw something up even with the best intentions. The fact that some of the main conflict in this story is directly *caused* by the hero really helps us continue to connect with Matthew/Excelsior as the protagonist. He isn’t unreachable or unrelatable and that is huge.
I was so happy to see more of the history of the alien world (including some of the etymology of not only the planet, Denab IV, but the Krunation race) and how intertwined Earth and Denab IV have been since events far preceding the backstory of even previous Excelsiors Valertus and Semminex. In the notes on the first book, Sirois talks about how expansive his planning has been for this series. When your “backstory” goes all the way back to the Big Bang and the creation of the universe, you know you’ve got some deep history!
Similarly to how Sirois kept us connected with Matthew’s humanity, he did the same thing with Earth. While the story taking place entirely on Denab IV would have been fine (we knew it was a Science Fiction with alien races), it was way more enjoyable for the dual stories taking place on both Earth and Denab IV. Diving into the history of Excelsior’s home planet and the truth behind the Krunation “god” was such a wonderful experience. With more focus on Krunation point of view characters, the reader is more able to accept their “humanity” as well, which is huge for the progression of the plot.
As with the first book, I feel this story is whole and complete. The epilogue makes me excited for the last book in the series, though, and I am looking forward to figuring out how much more we can learn about this massive world Sirois has crafted! Highly recommended!
As with the first book, this is definitely all-ages appropriate from a content standpoint. No bad language, no sex, and violence is minimal/comic booky in nature. There are deaths, but Krunations and Denarians simply turn to ash when they die so even then they aren’t gory like a human death would be.
A note (for any who care): there are some monotheistic religious undertones that are unsurprising considering the savior-styling of the protagonist, but Sirois does a really good job of keeping this less of an allegory and more of a connection to Earth and the readers and not “preachy” at all.
There are some romantic elements in this tale and things are a little more adult (in complexity, not in content) which is the only reason I recommend more of the 12+ range over a 10+ range. A mature and strong reader of any rage could enjoy this story/series, though, due to the all-ages level content.