TITLE: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
AUTHOR: Ransom Riggs
PUBLISHING: Quirk Productions
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 7th, 2011
GENRE(S): Fantasy, Supernatural, Adventure, Young Adult, Sci-Fi Fantasy, HIstorical
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
STAR RATING: 4 ∗∗∗∗
“MOVIE” RATING: PG-13 For disturbing or scary themes
When first seeing this book a few months before the new movie came out, I was intrigued with the concepts and the story behind the photograph on the front cover. A story within this world but also inside another was not a new idea to me and many others who read within this genre. Humans with special talents or abilities wasn’t either. The combination of a world with peculiar people and the many other paranormal possibilities rolled into one story (or a trilogy, in fact) was what stood out to me and originally made me excited to get my hands on this title.
The dark tones of this book was not something that I, as a reader, am familiar with from my preferred genres and themes so the “peculiar” seemed to envelope me further within the book. I enjoyed learning about the Peculiars, their lifestyle and the reason for every movement they make.
Jacob is telling the story through first person narration and goes through such a traumatic experience in just the beginning of the book which immediately created a connection with me as I read how he coped with this and his initial reaction. However, the reading was slow during this stretch of the first hundred or so pages. I was impatient with the unnecessary use of Jacob’s friend which eventually brought no insight or depth to the book. Though his situation is sympathetic, Jacob’s character seems weak and not cut out for the rest of the novel. The writing continues within the middle of the story as confusing and not fully developed as the Peculiars are haphazardly explained, the identity of each child is hardly brought up nor focused upon, and the idea of a time loop was roughly explained at best. Reading started as slow, then confusing, and ended quickly as finally the plot became a priority and the situation within the story warranted better attention.
The idea of placing pictures within a novel like this was, I think, both helpful and detriment. The pictorial aids included throughout the piece enabled me to view the scene exactly and was especially helpful when some of the narration lacked more understanding and depth about the depicted subjects or objects. What ruined this effect was the constant expectation for me to see a picture for each description. Rather than envisioning the lay of the land and the people for myself and coming up with my own conclusions about each event, there was a picture to tell me exactly how it was. There was then no need to read the meager descriptions prior to viewing the photographs. I was tempted to flip through the pages and see each photo before reading the text. When I was provided with more insufficient description for certain parts of the book, I expected a picture reference on the next page. Though this didn’t ruin the entire book for me, these pictures did not aid my experience of reading this.
The times where there was a wonderful description and sufficient background to this book, I was thoroughly impressed with the text and looked forward to reading more. The focus and effort put forth was seen mostly near the last third of the book as we are brought more into the world of the Peculiars rather than Jacob’s healing process. The beginning lasted a few months, the middle lasted a few weeks or so, and the ending lasted a few hours. This timeline was interesting to recognize as I read and even more so when I finished and realized that the author must have done this on purpose. Though this is probably the timeline of many books, the length of time was necessary and sufficient for what the author wanted to convey to his readers.
My favorite parts were when I was surprised while reading. I watch a lot of TV crime shows and sometimes read mystery novels and I’ve found that I usually more often than not can guess who the suspect is or who murdered who. While reading this, however, I was so glad that many of my guesses were wrong. My excitement upon finding each guess wrong, made my curiosity grow and grow which made me read through this faster and faster. It’s hard to find reads like these and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this was one that stumped me.
I admire new ideas and concepts brought into books such as these and this was no exception. Even though there were pieces and irregularities within, I read it in just a few days and couldn’t put it down in many instances, particularly the end. There is a giant cliffhanger there which definitely made me want to buy the other two books in the series and read what happens next in the Peculiars’ journey.
For someone who is willing to read this as it is, I would definitely recommend this book for the exciting thrills and adventures waiting inside. Though I wish I could somehow shorten the first half in order to get to the juicy second half!
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from SocialBookCo.
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ABOUT Ransom Riggs:
Hi, I’m Ransom, and I like to tell stories. Sometimes I tell them with words, sometimes with pictures, often with both. I grew up on a farm on the Eastern shore of Maryland and also in a little house by the beach in Englewood, Florida where I got very tan and swam every day until I became half fish. I started writing stories when I was young, on an old typewriter that jammed and longhand on legal pads. When I was a little older I got a camera for Christmas and became obsessed with photography, and when I was a little older still my friends and I came into possession of a half-broken video camera and began to make our own movies, starring ourselves, using our bedrooms and backyards for sets. I have loved writing stories and taking photographs and making movies ever since, and have endeavored to do all three.