Soooooooo it took me FOREVER to finally read this book, but I finally did! I’m proud of myself. Its been on my “to-read” list for ages, and its been out for years so I’m glad I finally picked it up. Especially since the sequel, Hollow City, will be hitting bookstores in mid-January and he’ll be doing a signing around here (hopefully with his wife!).
Plus I just like Ransom as a person. I follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr and he just makes me laugh. And he’s always going to really cool places and eating really good food. I just want to be his best friend. Like, him and Tahereh should double date with me and my boyfriend. Because it would be awesome.
Okay, moving on. Here’s the review :) Enjoy!
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Young Adult, Science Fiction? Fantasy?
Part of a Series?:
Yes. It is the first novel of the Miss Peregrine’s series. The sequel, Hollow City, releases January 14th.
You May Like if You Liked:
The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
14+ (More on that later)
A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in 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.
I really liked this book, and I am glad that I finally sat down and read it. I actually read it a handful of days after my boyfriend did, so that made it even better. We don’t discuss books too often because we don’t tend to read the same books (he’s been attempting to read James Joyce’s Ulysses this year. Uh, no.), but when we do, we have some SERIOUSLY good book conversations. And we had a really good one about this book, which, in turn, really helped me to write this review.
I think the book started off incredibly slow. The book is called Miss Peregrine’s Home… and we don’t actually get to the home for quite a while in the book. The first third of the book or so dragged on a lot to me and it took me awhile to get through it. Once I got through it, I blasted through the rest of the book but that first bit is incredibly rough to read.
I also was kind of perplexed at how it can be classified as YA or middle grade. I would definitely call it YA but would say its older YA, more mature YA. And its not the content. The story is definitely a children’s story and there’s nothing inappropriate or mature about the actual story. But the writing style is incredibly mature. I know that over the past few years, with the boom in YA, we’ve really begun to give more credit to teenager’s intelligence than we did before but even I had struggles with the writing sometimes. Ransom is a beautiful writer; his prose is just beautiful, but I must admit, there were several times that I had to look up a word because I had NO idea what it meant and the context of the sentence didn’t help me. You may have noticed that I said 14+ in the age recommendation. Its honestly not the content. Its not. I just think the writing style is fairly sophisticated for middle grade and younger teens.
I was a little disappointed in the characters. I think that there could be a lot more to them, and am hoping with the release of Hollow City, we’ll learn more about them. The pictures that are in the book are fairly creepy but the characters…just aren’t that peculiar. Their powers are peculiar but they aren’t really peculiar themselves, if that makes sense. Its hard to describe. I just kind of wanted them to be weirder. I think the combination of the kind of creepy cover, and the fact that Tim Burton is directing the movie (set for 2015?) really gave me the idea that it was a creepy book and it just wasn’t as creepy as I thought.
I liked the characters of Emma and Enoch. I thought they had the coolest peculiarities about them, and I think there’s more personality to them than others.
But that being said, I think its a great story. I think that it was awesome that Ransom took these photographs and was able to build a story out of them. That’s incredible. While I was reading, I kept thinking, “to build a complex story, with all these twists and turns, and base it off all these photographs is incredibly creative.” There would be times where a character, most often Miss Peregrine, would be explaining things and a picture would appear on the next page, to fit perfectly with the crazy world that he was building. I thought that was really cool. My dad got me this book when I was in high school, its this really popular kids book. A picture book full of all these super weird drawings that have no story, no words. My dad always thought I could come up with stories for them, but its so hard! So I’m thoroughly impressed by that.
(I had to google that book. I couldn’t remember it and it was driving me insane. It was called The Mysteries of Harris Burdick)
I also think he really creates a potential for the sequel. While I think the first book started off slow, and he needs to work on the development and depth of his characters, his story is solid and I think as the story continues along into Hollow City, the rest will fall more into place. He creates an incredibly complex story, especially since it involves a bit of time travel. Time travel can be a bit messy and confusing sometimes and it definitely is in this book, but I like that because it creates mystery and uncertainty and that really carries the book along. His sophisticated writing creates twists and turns that you sometimes don’t even see until it is smack in your face. That’s really creative and great story telling so I really commend him for that. I hope that sort of twisted story telling continues in Hollow City.
3.75 out of 5 Stars
Recommended or Not?:
Yes, but be aware that it may surprise you. The description and cover don’t match the story as well as you think it would. I honestly was expecting a spooky middle grade book and ended up with a sometimes confusing, sophisticated style of writing story that was weird but definitely not creepy. But I did really like it. The story is really good, and he leaves it off in such a way that it really makes you want to read the sequel. I think he builds up the story enough to create a bigger and better story in the sequel.
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I hope you enjoyed this week’s Book of the Week post! Don’t forget, you can always check out previous Book of the Week posts here!