Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Read if you like: Parallel universes, magical abilities, made-up creatures, different time zones
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
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.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar children was an interesting read… I’m always quite cautious of over-hyped books, as they tend to let me down quite often, and if I’m honest, this wasn’t as amazing as some reviews make it out to be. Needless to say I’m glad I read it and I will definitely try out the sequel, however there is a lot of criticism I have…
I think the first thing I will have to address is of course the unique format of the book. Ransom Riggs, the author, is a collector of old photographs, so he naturally incorporated some of the snapshots he found through his story. They were really interesting – unlike any other book with illustrations or pictures in it. It wasn’t one of those books which have illustrations just to make it more appealing – these photographs actually had a part in the story, they played a role in the novel just as much as the words did.
Another thing which I was worried about before I started the book was the ‘scary’ aspect of the book. I hate horror books and movies, I can get creeped out really easily, and this cover did give across the message that this would be a slightly frightening book, what with the black and white imagery and the focus on a creepy girl floating. Looks can be deceiving – this really wasn’t a frightening book at all. Sure, the characters did have some abnormal, fantastical powers but they weren’t ‘scary’. If I’m honest, I’m not sure why they chose that cover. Sure, the girl in the centre is a character in the book, but she isn’t a particularly major character who plays a meaningful role in the story. So basically – don’t judge this book by it’s cover. It’s not a very good cover for this book, they don’t fit each other too well.
I’m going to talk about the characters now. I didn’t really like any of them, if I’m honest. They were kinda flat and stereotypical – I didn’t really feel much personality coming from them. If I was asked to describe a character, for example Jacob, then I wouldn’t really have much to say except for what is stated in the book itself – that he was brave and selfless. But that’s what the author wants us to think of Jacob, and if I’m honest, I thought he was quite a weak character who relied more on others than himself. He came across as quite arrogant and self-pitying to me – being all whiney despite the fact that his parents were rich and provided pretty much everything to him. I just really didn’t like him. The only character who seemed moderately ‘okay’ was Emma, and even she wasn’t that great. She didn’t have too much personality either – other authors can make their characters so vivid and three-dimensional, which Ransom Riggs failed to deliver.
Another thing about the characters which I didn’t like was this – there were just too many! You know that feeling when an author introduces way too many characters all at once, and you struggle to know who is who? That’s exactly what happened here. And not only did you have to remember their names, but you also had to remember which person had which peculiar ability.
One thing that Ransom Riggs did manage to do well, which you don’t really find in YA books these days, was quite an advanced and sophisticated writing style. My friend, who reads classics more than any other genre, was complaining to me the other day about how YA books lack in any real writing ‘flair’. YA is my favourite genre, so of course I was quick to defend it, but I have to say I do agree with her a little. Some books have amazing plots and imaginative settings, yet the writing itself is quite simple and un-amazing. However, I really liked Ransom Riggs’ style – it was much more descriptive and detailed than most YA books, and that was something that kept me reading on.
The plot itself felt quite unplanned – everything seemed to just be written around a set of intriguing, old pictures – therefore making the plot quite random, if that makes any sense? And on top of that it was really slow. Nothing much happened in the first half of the book, except for Jacob discovering the Peculiar world. Only half way through the book did we learn about the hollowgasts and the wights, the ‘villains’ of the book, yet nothing much happened, except for the fact that Jacob learnt about them and their past, and saw some frightening pictures of them. So the real action of the story happened pretty late in the book, by which time I’m sure a lot of people probably just put the book down.
However when action DID happen, it was pretty good, and I liked it. I like the whole concept of hollowgasts and wights wanting to finish off what they started, with only some inexperienced 80-something-year old children to defeat them. It seems like one of those stories where the ‘good’ side is bound to lose, when all of a sudden the author will pull something out of the hat and shock all the readers. Considering what happened so far in the book, and how slow it was, something REALLY amazing needs to happen in order to shock me as a reader, but I’ll wait and see, I’m intrigued to see the fate of the peculiars.
Finally before I finish I want to quickly talk about the romance in the book. There wasn’t really much in it – and if I’m honest the little romance there was didn’t really seem very necessary – it was kinda just ~there~. However, it was a very weird romance. Jacob, 16, falls in love with Emma, who is 88 (?). Okay, I get that Emma looks Jacob’s age on the outside but is that not really weird? And to top it all of, Emma fell in love with and dated Jacob’s own grandfather, which to me is just really weird. I don’t know, it just didn’t seem very necessary – and it’s not even like the romance added to the plot or anything, I’m sure things would have turned out just the same if Emma and Jacob were friends.
So that was a pretty negative review, but I did enjoy the book – I just found many, many flaws with it. I think I’ll give Hollow City a try, and if I don’t enjoy that, I’ll just drop the series.
Here’s the movie trailer for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar children which is going to be directed by Tim Burton. It’s coming out some time September, and I think I will watch it whether I finish the series or not, because movie adaptations are always fun to be happy about (if they’re good) or annoyed at (if they are bad).
On a happier note – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child have released the photos of the cast in character!!!! I am so, so excited!! Although I haven’t got tickets to see the play (Mia has 😡😡) I am still trying to convince my mum, and I’m sure there’ll be more performances after 2017 so it’s all okay.
But ahhhh the cast is perfect!! At first I was pretty annoyed at Harry’s casting – it just didn’t work for me. I like it though, now! You can actually tell that Jamie Parker is Harry Potter – it works! Of course, Daniel Radcliffe will always be the true Harry, but this is good too!
Sam Clemmett, i.e Albus Severus is great too! I’m not sure if it’s how I imagined, but I like it!
However, I’m not sure if I really like Poppy Miller as Ginny…I mean, we know Ginny is a Quidditch player, but this Ginny looks more like a Molly Weasley kind, stay-at-home mum, nothing like the Ginny we know.
Also notice the new Hogwarts robes? What do you think?
One thing I’m really hoping I’ll get out of Cursed Child is for Scorose (Scorpius Malfoy and Rose Weasley) to be canon. Draco and Hermione are one of my OTPs and J.K Rowling herself admitted that Draco loved Hermione. So if Dramione is never going to be canon, Scorose is the next best thing!
Anyways, hope you enjoyed the review and my fangirling on Cursed Child! Comment below to tell me what you think about the book, and the cast of HP & the CC!!