Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island. An abandoned Orphanage.

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 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.

         This book was such a fun read. It’s kind of a peculiar book and it doesn’t really fit in one genre. In the beginning it sets off kind of like an adventure and more of a ways of closure, but then it takes an interesting turn and suddenly it stops being solely adventure and starts to turn into paranormal. I like both, so this is good.

         Jacob was such a good character to read. The book is in his perspective and throughout he mostly narrates instead of giving a sort of commentary that I see happening with a lot of first point of view young adult novels. But I always loved his commentary, which usually kind of came off as sarcastic or blunt. It was fun to read and it was interesting following him through exploring the orphanage. I also found the writing of his character to be incredibly honest. Personally, I feel that writing a grieving character is difficult even if you have gone through some terrible tragedies. It’s really easy to go completely melodramatic and unfortunately, that makes the writing really unbelievable and takes away from the integrity of this great idea. Ransom Riggs, did a good job at writing Jacob’s grief and pain from such a traumatic experience and he does well in bringing that to what happens in the second act of the book.

          The other characters in the book were also very interesting. I mean, aside from the fact that they are the peculiar children in this home, they all had their own personalities and quirks. This sounds so much like a “duh” statement, but I’ve read a few books where some of the side characters were simply two dimensional and very obviously there just to be filler. I didn’t find this problem in Miss Peregrine’s. Each character was interesting and each character was fleshed out, no matter how small their appearance in the novel, and none of them really fit a trope. It’s refreshing to find a book that puts as much effort into its side characters as it does its main characters.

          In the second and third act of this novel, the story takes a strange shift. Thinking back on it, there have been hints at this all along the novel and it’s not incredibly strange, but it takes a turn that I wasn’t quite expecting it to take. In this novel there is the whole idea of alternate planes of existence where time loops. This kind of seems out of left field when it’s taken out of context of the novel, but it explains quite a lot considering what Jacob finds in the beginning. In the time loop, none of the children age… Well really no one ages. Yet, Jacob finds himself in a “should I stay or should I go” situation and he compares it to Peter Pan and his Lost Boys. When I read that comparison I had a moment where my mind went, “uh oh”. I thought Jacob was going to stay in the time loop because he genuinely felt that he was better off in this place where nothing changes, no one ages, and all’s well. Of course this is pretty much a fantasy and really, someone like Jacob probably shouldn’t stay. In the turn of the novel’s plot I found it very interesting how it changed from ‘I want to stay because it’s better’ to ‘I need to stay’. I don’t really want to spoil it for anyone, but it was incredibly interesting how the story panned out. What starts off as a dangerous fantasy ends as a very necessary reality and I have to say i really enjoyed that.

          Re-reading the little blurb from  Goodreads, I realize that this novel really didn’t hit the spooky factor I originally bought it for. When I found Miss Peregrine’s at Barnes and Noble a few years ago, I was mesmerized by the use of these creepy pictures, and the pretty pages, and the cover. I really wanted to know what creepy tale was written in the pages. Come to find out, it wasn’t that much of a creepy tale. It was a very adventure filled, incredibly fun tale. Now this doesn’t mean it was all sunshines and daisies (there was a lot of that), but I personally didn’t find it that spooky or scary. Though, I still loved the story so it’s not really a complaint as it is an observation.

          Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The characters were all interesting and I found myself really immersed into the world and the adventure. This is just a note for all those interested in reading: it’s not a quick read. Personally, I didn’t find it to be a quick read, anyway. I found it to be one of the books where it needs to be read in a moderate pace and taken in. I think if I read it like I would read a super quick novel, I’d miss out on a lot of the great details and the adventure.

Final Thoughts: I’m glad I finally got to read this book. It was delightful, refreshing, and just a good story.

Rating: 4.5/5

Details: 
Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Published: June 7, 2011 by Quirk
Pages: 352
Goodreads
Buy It: Barnes and Noble | Thrift Books | Book Depository

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