Tales of the Peculiar is a colleciton of short stories of beloved Peculiars from many years ago. Ransom teamed up with Millard to collect these tales and share them with fans everywhere.
“Passed down from generation to generation since time immemorial, each story is part history, part fairy tale, and part moral lesson aimed at young peculiars. These tales hail from various parts of the globe, from oral as well as written traditions, and have gone through striking transformations over the years. They have survived as long as they have because they are loved for their merits as stories, but they are more than that, too.”
This review contains *mild spoilers*.
The Splendid Cannibals: 5/5 stars
This was my favorite tale of all of the tales. The title is just what you think – it is indeed about cannibals but not in the gross and gruesome way you would expect. This is about civilized cannibals that never kill innocent people. I won’t go into exact detail of this tale, but the lesson within the story is brilliant. This one will stay with me for a long time.
The Fork-Tongued Princess: 4.5/5 stars
Another thought-provoking tale! I love the writing and beauty of this one. It is the story of a king who is preparing to wed his daughter, the princess, but the princess has a secret that she has never told anyone but her hand maiden. Once her secret is discovered, her father is cruel to her and she is forced to live on her own for many years. She learns the hard, horrid truth of how horrible the world really can be and she chose to thrive instead of shrivel. The growth and development of the princess is one that made me smile.
The First Ymbryne: 3.5/5 stars
This was not one of my favorite tales but it did give excellent background for Ymbrynes and loops. It was an interesting read but not very exciting. Know there there is no romance, no real thrilling action, only historical information.
The Woman Who Befriended Ghosts: 3/5 stars
“There was once a peculiar woman named Hildy. She had a high laughing voice and dark brown skin, and she could see ghosts. She wasn’t frightened by them at all.”
This was a funny, yet quick tale. It is the story of Hildy and her twin that sadly drowned when they were children. After this horrible event, Hildy finds she can talk to ghosts. She does not have much in common with living people anymore so she seeks out ghosts to keep her company.
That sounds great and all, but this does not seem like a very “peculiar” gift or ability to me. Talking to ghosts is something that can be done by a lot of people. The story had some funny moments but it just was not that great for me.
Cocobolo: 4/5 stars
“As a boy, Zheng worshipped his father. This was during the reign of Kublai Khan in ancient China, long before Europe ruled the seas, and his father, Liu Zhi, was a famous ocean explorer.”
This story I really enjoyed. I loved the morale behind it. This is the story of Zheng. Zheng’s father was a great ocean explorer who disappeared when he was only ten years old. Zheng’s father gave him some odd advice before he left and Zheng spend his adult years trying to find his father, be better than his father. The message that was left was actually forshadowing for the life that was ahead of Zheng.
A magical tale about destiny and fate. Very powerful.
The Pigeons of Saint Paul’s: 3/5 stars
This was an odd tale, but according to Millard it is one of the oldest tales.
This is the story of how pigeons became terribly upset that the humans were building large standing buildings right where the pigeons claimed their private domain was located. As a result, the pigeons chose to fight back and destroy whatever the humans built.
This is a tale of “an eye for an eye” but it was just not that wonderful of a tale for me.
The Girl Who Could Tame Nightmares: 3.5/5 stars
This was such a dark and odd tale. Readers are warned that some tales are just too dark and complex. This is one of them.
Lavinia, an eleven year old girl, wants to be a doctor just like her father. She is not completely encouraged to be a doctor, but she has the strange ability to remove nightmares from people. She can put her finger into the person’s ear, and remove all bad dreams by pulling out a black string. This does not have the absolute positive impact that Lavinia had hoped. It becomes a tale of what it means to be good or bad. Tread carefully with this tale.
The Locust: 3.5/5 stars
This is the peculiar tale of Edvard, an immigrant from Norway who moved to America to seek his fortune. After many years of hard work, he settled down a little with his wife and had a baby boy, Ollie. It is quickly discovered that Ollie is peculiar, but nobody knew to what extent. As Ollie gets older, it becomes apparent that he has the ability to change into animals he grows fond of. It starts out with locusts, then more complex animals. Ollie is forced to survive on his own after his father discovers his abilities and spends years on his own.
This tale felt like it was about learning to love someone and accept them for who they are.
The Boy Who Could Hold Back the Sea: 3.5/5 stars
Fergus is a peculiar with the ability to control the tides. He is the best fisherman ever but he makes a promise to his mother to never tell people about his gift. Years later, Fergus lets it slip what his gift is and nothing good comes from it. Everyone wants to use him and his ability for their gain. This is a great tale about what it means to be a hero and how it is not always a good thing.
The Tale of Cuthbert: 3.5/5 stars
This tale was so odd. It actually has two endings. The first is so very, very sad and depressing, but Millard jumps in to rewrite the ending to give it a more heartwarming finish.
Cuthbert is a kindly giant who chooses to help the peculiar animals of the forest escape the hunters by placing them on the top of a very high cliff where they will be safe. The only thing he wants in return is for the animals to talk to him. Everything changes when a witch, who was hired by the family of a hunter that Cuthbert killed, enacts the revenge she was hired to do. This is were the two endings come in to play.
Overall, I really, really enjoyed these short stories! They gave wonderful insight into the history of peculiars and some of the adventures they had. Not to mention the deep seeded morales were very thought provoking. I highly recommend this group of tales to anyone that loves the Miss Peregrine stories. Please, give this collection a chance.