Megan's Reviews > Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
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Jul 06, 11

bookshelves: young-adult
Read from June 22 to 24, 2011

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a beautiful work of art and the first novel by Ransom Riggs. Sadly, I didn’t love it nearly as much as I wanted to, and am still feeling conflicted by it.

What this book has going for it is that it is strikingly beautiful. The cover features a super creepy old black and white photo of a levitating little girl, the title printed in a lovely font, and doodles which are reminiscent of tombstone art from Victorian era cemeteries. Inside, this book is just as aesthetically pleasing. The inside cover is a brown and beige design which brings to mind gloomy Victorian wall paper, the actual pages are a thick paper and decorated at the bottom with little brown scrolls. And of course there are the pictures. This novel is filled with wonderfully disturbing and bizarre old black and white photos which complement the narrative. These old photos are all taken from private collections and I applaud Ransom Riggs’s ability to construct a story around so many odd images.

Where this book failed is that I don’t believe quite as much attention to detail was involved in the actual telling of this tale as was put into the presenting of it. Yes, this book is visually striking. But after a strong beginning, the story falls a little flat. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children features sixteen year old Jacob Portman, who is just starting to wonder if there is some truth to the crazy stories his grandpa has told him his entire life. Stories of strange birds, monsters and, of course peculiar children living together in an orphanage on a tiny island off the coast of Wales. My discontent for this story stems from the fact that while it appears to be a young adult book, it is written as more of a book for older children. Or maybe it is because I am a girl used to the angst and the drama, and this mystery is also an action story written by a male author. Either way, this book has a lack of character development, insight, and emotions.

The peculiar children here are defined by their oddities, rather than their personalities. Jacob spends a considerable amount of time with children who are considerably younger than him (grade school and middle school age) and the interactions aren’t any different than when he is spending time with adults or other teens. A sweaty, hormonal, impatient sixteen year old boy should have a big brother complex, a power complex, or some reaction to spending time with younger kids, but Jacob does not. Jacob himself should be an interesting kid to read about. He is a bit of a loner, doesn’t have any friends and has (predictably) emotionally absent parents. Yet, we don’t see him struggle with his own oddness or social issues. When adversity strikes, Jacob steps up to the plate just like any other heroic YA hero.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children isn’t a bad story. Not by any means. It’s a decent story in an eye-catching book and features a new paranormal world that will surely fascinate tons of people. However, all of the attention put to the looks, the plot and the action left the characters to suffer. Plus, there is one major issue with the fantasy aspect that was never explained and that itself bothered me more than anything else. If you don’t mind a small spoiler, go ahead and read (this is something that becomes introduced around page 150) (view spoiler)

It’s doubtful that I will read the next in this series. I am however eagerly anticipating Ransom Riggs book of found photographs, Talking Pictures,which will be released next year. His writing style is not for me, but he (apparently) has an amazing collection of found photos.
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Reading Progress

06/27/2011 page 352
100.0%

Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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message 1: by CJC (new) - added it

CJC you find interesting such interesting books!


Megan It's all due to stalking many bookshelves here on Goodreads :)


message 3: by CJC (new) - added it

CJC I'm working on my stalking too - and I didnt mean to sound like Jacob Two Two in my previous comment, darn Blackberry ;)


Megan Blame the machines, lol


Penny How are you liking this book? It sounds like it could be really good yet I'm apprehensive about picking it up.


Megan It's good so far. But I have to admit I'm slightly swayed by how visually pleasing it is. The print, inside design, and pages are all so lovely. In addition, the book is filled with lots of fantastic old (or doctored to look old) photos of creepy children.


Megan Just read the author's blurb on Goodreads ~ the pictures are totally real.


Wendy Darling Aw. I have this on its way to me. *sigh*


Megan I'll be curious to see what you think about it :) Apparently, it is getting lots of good reviews. And it really isn't bad. I just wanted more from it, and from the characters.

But I'll warn you, the story doesn't wrap up here ~ it doesn't end with a nasty cliffhanger, but the main story isn't even close to being resolved.


Wendy Darling Good to know going in. :)


Karen I couldn't agree with you more - loved the design of the book itself and really wanted to love the story, but found it fell a bit flat.


Margo I agree with you. I didn't hate the book, I found it somewhat enjoyable. However, it still left me wanting more.


message 13: by Tatiana (last edited Aug 11, 2011 11:54AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tatiana Your spoiler covered question is exactly the one I had, Megan. (view spoiler)


message 14: by K. (new) - added it

K. Can't wait for Talking Pictures...I love creepy photographs.


message 15: by Megan (last edited Aug 11, 2011 02:49PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Megan Tatiana wrote: "Your spoiler covered question is exactly the one I had ..."

That was the craziest part and the most poorly explained! If nothing else (view spoiler)


Tatiana I know! The most disturbing thing about them was (view spoiler)


message 17: by Megan (last edited Aug 11, 2011 03:18PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Megan (view spoiler)


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