Friday, January 10, 2014

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

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk
Release date: June 7th 2011
Pages: 352
Genre: Young adult fantasy/mystery
Source: Bought a signed copy at Books of Wonder!
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A horrific family tragedy sends Jacob 16 to a remote island off Wales, to the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, where he finds unusual old photographs. The children, one his grandfather, were more than peculiar, perhaps dangerous, quarantined for good reason - and maybe still alive.

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was a bit of a random choice for me. To be honest, I only bought it because Books of Wonder had a signed copy and I can't resist signed books, ever. It sounded interesting, but not like what I usually enjoy, simply because of the fantasy aspect. I was really hoping to step out of my comfort zone and love this book despite it being something I don't normally read, but sadly, I just couldn't. The characters lacked depth, the worldbuilding confused me, and I just wasn't emotionally invested in the plot.

I started out really enjoying Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. The beginning is set in the real world, and I liked getting to know Jacob as a character before all of this happened. The mystery, before getting to the island, is intriguing - the photographs are creepy as hell, and the whole idea of these possibly magical children fascinated me. I especially liked not knowing how much of this is true and how much of this is part of Jacob's imagination, since the possibility of a mental illness is hinted at throughout the first part of the novel. Jacob's interactions with his grandfather, and the possibly magical stories he tells, are interesting as well.

However, once the mystery of the orphanage is revealed, the book went downhill for me. My main problem is the worldbuilding. Maybe it's because I wasn't invested enough in the story, but numerous aspects of the world Miss Peregrine's is set in didn't make sense to me. For example, how do the ages of the people in the time-loop work? In parts of the novel, the children are referred to as children that need protection, play games, and just generally act like children. But in others, they mention how their minds are 80-something years old even if their bodies haven't aged, which just didn't match up. The whole thing about the wights and the monsters didn't make sense to me either - I just didn't understand the backstory and their motivation.

Asides from the worldbuilding, the characters are what bothered me most about the novel. The children's peculiar abilities are fascinating to read about, but it seemed to me that their characters were reduced to their abilities, and we never really find out anything about them. This goes for all of the children at the home, with the exception of Emma. Emma's character, however, caused a separate set of issues for me: Emma is Jacob's grandfather's ex-girlfriend, and now Emma and Jacob are romantically involved. I know there's more to their relationship, but I just couldn't see past that - I'm sorry, but there is nothing that could make that anything but creepy to me.

The ending frustrated me. Even if I didn't really enjoy the plot, I was looking forward to some sort of explanation and conclusion. Sadly, though, that never came. The ending is unresolved and a total cliffhanger - I'm assuming this is supposed to be the first in a series!? While of course I understand the point of cliffhangers, it frustrated me, since I'm not planning on reading a sequel to this if one does come out.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children just wasn't for me. I'm sure one reason I didn't enjoy this one is because it's so much harder for me to connect with a fantasy novel than with a contemporary one. But even asides from the fantasy story, I was disappointed by the worldbuilding and character development. I do recommend it if you're looking for something unusual and creepy just because I love the idea and the photographs, but I personally didn't really enjoy the novel.


  1. Well that's interesting. I had only heard how great this was. I like hearing a different point of view.

    My nephew has been bugging me to read this one so I might give it a shot.

  2. I love stories like this one usually, but once I got to the town and started the search my interest started waning. It didn't take much longer for it to be gone completely. This is one of the rare books that I DNF'd and I felt bad about it but I couldn't continue. I did love the pictures though!

  3. The pictures in this book really creep me out. I don't want to read this book at all.. hahaha..

  4. I't rally disappointing when the answers you wanted never really comes... And when there's poo character building. Haven't tread this book yet but loved your review.

  5. I'm really looking forward to this one. It sounds unique.

  6. That's too bad you didn't really like it. I haven't read this one myself, but I can't wait to. This kind of book is right up my alley and I love all the creepy old pictures contained in its pages. I've heard that there is going to be a movie adaptation directed by Tim Burton which sounds super awesome.


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