Friday, July 22, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books, 2011 (Hardcover)
Length: 348 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy, Mystery
Started: July 16, 2011
Finished: July 21, 2011

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, 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 who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate 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.

As soon as I first saw this book listed months ago, I knew I had to read it. The premise seemed just the right amount of creepy and cool. I think my expectations might've been a bit too high, 'cause I felt a little disappointed by the time I finished reading.

Jacob grew up listening to his grandfather's stories from when he lived in a children's home in Wales during WWII. His grandfather also speaks of the children that lived in the home with him, and how 'peculiar' they were, each seeming to have a special talent or ability that was the stuff of tall tales. Jacob started to believe the stories less and less as he got older, but when he's 16 years old and receives a frantic call from his grandfather and witnesses a tragedy upon investigating it, he begins to doubt his own sanity. Jacob eventually finds his way to the island in Wales where the children's home was, and digs deeper into his grandfather's stories. What he finds there will challenge everything he thought he knew about his grandfather and himself.

This book has an amazing premise. The old creepy house, the weird kids, the photos interspersed throughout the book that are woven into the story, it has the potential to be awesome. Unfortunately, the execution didn't go quite as well. The plot started out great in the beginning, but once the home and the children fully came into the picture, things started to go south; the plot wasn't realistic in some spots despite the suspension of disbelief that readers need for this type of book (the logic behind the time loops didn't always make sense, and the whole ending between Jacob and his dad was so unrealistic). Jacob's character was mature and smart while being naive and clueless at the same time, so he felt disjointed half the time. The peculiar children weren't really developed in terms of character, which was sad because some of them (Enoch and Millard) seemed interesting and I would've liked to see them developed more. The whole romance between Jacob and Emma was just ewwwwwww for reasons I can't explain cause then I'd be spoiling things, but it was just icky and didn't work, there wasn't even enough build-up for it to be believable in my eyes.

All in all, I loved the photographs, I think they were woven in quite nicely, and I give the author credit for integrating such a weird collection of photos into the story. The whole book as a package is very visually appealing, it's just too bad the story and character development fell flat for me, because I really wanted to adore this, I really did.

Great premise and quite attractive visually, but the story just doesn't deliver unfortunately.

Thoughts on the cover:
I love all the visuals they've used for this book, and the cover is not different. The picture of the girl who appears to be levitating conveys just the right amount of creepy.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear I wasn't the only one a little disappointed with this book. It was a good story idea. But I agree about the romance being ewww. And also, I would like to know more about the characters. But since I think she's writing a sequel, maybe we'll get some more character development in the next story? If we decide to read on that is.