Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
*Okay, I'm going to try to get through this whole review without using the word “peculiar” except when/if quoting the title of the book
This is an original and sometimes strange book that tells a story of monsters and the children they hunt. It is also a beautiful book with black and white photographs throughout and a cover that immediately made me want to pick it up and read it. Even the book beneath the jacket is a thing of beauty with gold lettering inscribing the name “Alma Le Fay Peregrine” and an old-fashioned feel that fits right in with at least part of the story. This book looks like it belongs on an old and forgotten library shelf waiting to be discovered. All of this combines to make you believe that you are reading a treasure trove of a book and if you like a good story then a treasure trove is exactly what you have here.
The beginning of the book is set in America and is both creepy and funny by turn. The plot twists and turns so, like Jacob, you can't be sure about the stories his grandfather tells him. Are they true, an old man's way of telling his grandson about his wartime experiences or complete fabrications? It is only after his grandfather's death that Jacob begins to find the answer to his and the readers questions.
The moment I really sank into the book, however, was when Jacob and his father arrived on the Welsh island of Cairnholm. A dark, misty place with limited access to the outside world and scary visitors that might not be all they seem, Cairnholm is the perfect setting for a fantasy story. The isolation really helps to focus the story and you cannot help but identify with Jacob in his desperation for answers.
Jacobs voice is a strong one with enough humour and intelligence to tell a good story. Unfortunately, the strength of Jacob's character does push some of the other characters to the background. The children in Miss Peregrine's charge all have their own unique gifts but, with some of the children, it seems that is all they have. There is no personality or depth to them and they can tend to merge into each other. Luckily there are one or two that stand out and they are enough to keep you hooked.
It did feel, to me, as if I was listening to an older Jacob telling the story of his youthful adventures just as his grandfather did with him and when Jacob reaches isolated Cairnholm there's nothing really to distinguish what era the book is set in. This gives the book a timeless feel but also separates the two parts of the story just a little bit.
The photographs are a fantastic addition and really help to tie the two different sections of the book back together. The fact that they are all real, unaltered photographs adds to the story and you can't help the niggling feeling that maybe just maybe somewhere there is a little island just off the edge of Wales and on that island there's a house and in that house are children and those children are.....well, peculiar (damn!)
This Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children book review was written by Andrea Chettle
A video book review by WordsAndOtherGoodIdeas
This is the first book in a trilogy and it is a wonderful introduction to the original, magical world of Peculiarities and mystery. Ransom Riggs wrote this story in an amazing way, collecting vintage photographs and constructing a story around them. These photographs came from an astonishing variety of places with little or no explanation to them, so Riggs simply created a story for each of them. From single images entire characters come alive, blossoming into complex individuals with amazing abilities. Not only does Riggs have a unique creative method, he executes the story with excellent technique. The writing style is clean, intelligent, economic. The book is easy to read, but is in no means simplistic. I cannot recommend this book enough, it is poignant, piercing, and extremely memorable. It is one which I am sure will stay with you.
Have you read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children?
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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children reader reviews
Andrea from Avondale, Arizona
I could not stop reading this book. It had it all and I hope there will be another one soon. The only thing that bothered me was the ending, I was hoping to get a little more. I enjoyed all the twists and turns of the book that made it stay exciting the whole way through.
8.7/10 from 2 reviews
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