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

January 5, 2012 Review 4

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children 
Author: Ransom Riggs
June 2011
YA, fantasy, mystery 

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

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.

— Cover Critique —

I really like the cover. It isn’t pretty, but the mix of fonts, the black and white and the creepy photograph of the levitating girl makes it unique and fun.

— Expectations —

I was so excited for this book. I loved the idea of using vintage photography to tell a story, and did you see that book trailer? That 100% sold it to me. It gave me chills (and still does)! I showed it to my best friend, my grandma… and my best friend ended up getting me the book for my birthday because she knew I wanted to dive right into the creepy mystery of the Peculiars

— Review —

I found this book left much to be desired in terms of an original plot, and pacing, but yet, it still delivered a fairly interesting read. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children starts out quickly, right from the get-go introducing the reader to the likable character of Jacob, who has a great sense of humour. The story pulls you in and has you turning the pages quickly, but just as quickly as it starts – about a hundred pages in, most, if not all the secrets and plot is revealed! While I still stayed up late reading the book  it was because I thought more was coming, but it never really did. The second part of the novel was definitely a letdown for me as little new information is revealed and the pace slowed considerably. However, the time-travelling component did interest me for its historical aspects, but it wasn’t enough to make the plot shine as much as the first half of the novel did.

Jacob is a well-written teenage character, with lots of witty dialogue, angst and curiosity. However, the other character that takes up most of the story is Emma, who I highly disliked. I can’t exactly put my finger on why exactly, but she irked me. I didn’t really feel the chemistry between Emma and Jacob and their relationship felt forced and creepy (I can’t explain without giving a spoiler, but let’s just say there is some serious history between them!). The other Peculiars were appropriately quirky and I enjoyed them much more than I did Emma’s character.

The real redeeming factor for me was Riggs’ creative use of the historical photographs interspersed throughout the book. Although the writing didn’t give me the heebie-geebies some of the photographs certainly did! It was interesting learning a bit more of the backstory through the characters portrayed, especially through Jacob’s eyes.

Overall, I felt that this book didn’t deliver anything truly unique (there have been many Xmen comparisons made) aside from the creepy photographs, and that the book summary hyped up and misrepresented the book, which is more fantasy than creepy thriller.  Despite its many shortcomings, I think that if you approach this book without expectations of being scared, you may enjoy it a little more than I did.

4 Responses to “Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs”

  1. Shari

    SO glad to see that I wasn’t the only one that didn’t love this book! I haven’t even reviewed it yet because I wasn’t sure what to say about it. I think I may have even disliked it:) Shari over at My Neurotic Book Affair

  2. Rachelia (Bookish Comforts)

    Most of the reviews I have read have gushed over the book. I REALLY wanted to love it, but when I finished I literally had a “That was it?” moment. Right now I’m having my grandma reading it (she got hooked by the trailer too) and seeing if she goes in with different expectations (I told her my opinion) if that changes thing. A bit of an experiment I suppose, haha!

  3. Chey

    This one has been sitting on my shelves for a while and while I absolutely adore what the hardcover looks like and the usage of old photographs, I’m not convinced that I’m doing to love the story. I guess the only way to find out is if I dive in! Thanks for your thoughts. :)
    I’m a new follower! Can’t wait to see more posts from you.

  4. Natalie (Mindful Musings)

    I’ve been incredibly intrigued by this book since I first heard of it. I love old photography, and this book sounded like something unique and fresh. Unfortunately, what you said about it leaving something to be desired with the plot is what I’ve been hearing a lot lately. Maybe I’ll see if the library has it…Then again, with a to-read pile like mine, I don’t really need to be going to the library any time soon!

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