Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Genre: Young Adult – Dark Fantasy
Page Count: 348
My Rating: 3 stars
Acquired: ARC – $1.50
Status: To be unhauled
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.
First, let me just say that this book is visually stunning. The dust jacket is beautiful shades of black and gray. The front cover is a rich crimson with fine gold script imprinted reading “Alma LeFay Peregrine.” The spine has intricate detail in the same gold stamp. The pages are a thick paper, each with black and brown printed ink. The photographs themselves capture a wholly different time. Though more difficult to produce, photography of the day was an event that required preparation and effort. No selfies or food pics to be found. Each photo was obviously staged just so and then hand picked years later for inclusion in this book.
Unfortunately, I felt that the physical book itself was the most masterful aspect of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The idea of building a story around photographs is great but the execution left much to be desired. I felt like the photo tie-ins were forced and lacked finesse. It was very distracting. With each new photo, a new character was introduced, leaving me feeling overwhelmed with trying to keep each character and their peculiarity straight.
There was very little plot to speak of. Not a whole lot happened throughout the course of the book. The beginning of the book (the journey to getting to the island) was the most mysterious and intriguing part to me. I couldn’t help but wonder how all of the pieces of the puzzle were going to fit together. But then once he got to the island, the plot relied heavily on the novelty of peculiarity. There was also an inappropriate, unnecessary love aspect in the book that I really did not enjoy. It was almost like insta-love, but in a weird and twisted way.
There were a few good quotable sections, so Ransom Riggs does have a way with words at times. One of my favorites:
If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize we’re alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries–but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was.
(Side note – in this quote in my copy of the book, “we’re” is “were.” So there’s that…)
Overall, I didn’t feel much of a connection to the characters or the story. I will probably continue with the series because I’m a glutton for pain and can’t just leave things unfinished. But I won’t be keeping this book on my shelf and I probably won’t be recommending it to others.