TITLE: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
AUTHOR: Ransom Riggs
SERIES: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children (#1)
PUBLISHER: Quirk Books
GENRE: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery, Fantasy
RATING: 4/5 Stars
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.
What I Liked:
- I've seen a few complaints about the first part of the book being a bit slow, but I really liked it a lot! It gave me time to get to know Jacob and his family, time to feel sad for his Grandfather who has spent his entire life not being believed, and built up quite a spine-chilling, mysterious atmosphere. I was hooked for roughly the first half of the story and I liked the amount of detail that went into the build-up. It really set the scene and I think Riggs did a great job of setting the story up.
- Ransom Riggs writes beautifully! I love how easy it was to read, without becoming boring or frustrating in any way. He managed to employ the right amount of detail in building atmosphere, characterisation, and especially the world-building and combined with the spooky photographs it made the entire thing feel like a real life event rather than fiction. I loved that he really worked on the characterisation too, making even the side-characters vivid in my imagination.
What I Disliked:
- I didn't think that the second half of the book was bad per say, it just swerved off in a very different direction that I didn't overly warm to. At first I felt like I was reading a Horror: strange photographs, scary stories, horrifying monsters and a creepy old house. Then as the novel went on, it suddenly turned into more of a Middle Grade/YA Fantasy Adventure. I don't mind that genre twist but I was really enjoying being scared and suddenly I wasn't. Also, as time went on, I began to feel like characters were being made up just to match the photographs and tough they were well developed, they still didn't contribute a whole lot to the story.
- This is a really small annoyance but there was a slightly weird dose of insta-love that did not really add to the story in any way. Given the circumstances that surround the two love birds and their respective pasts and family connections...it didn't really sit all that well with me. It felt like a bizarre change in Jacob's character, as did his decision to stay and leave everything he knows and loves behind him. What?!
As I said, this book started out really well and it gained itself the four stars because it's build-up was gripping and Riggs' writing really impressed me. From about halfway through onwards however I began to feel a bit more unsure about it. The genre took a sharp twist, and the great characterisation seemed to drop a little in favour of some spontaneous, reckless and slightly strange decisions. I do want to find out what happens next so I think that can only be a good thing but I'm a little disappointed that the book didn't blow me away in the end.