"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs | Book Review
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children (Book #1)
Genre: Paranormal, Adventure, Young Adult
Page Count: 352
First Published: June 7, 2011
When it comes to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, it's best to adjust your expectations because, according to the marketing and the cover, this book is a chilling fantasy thriller. In reality, this is a paranormal adventure novel that will keep reminding you of a certain school for gifted youngsters, and the most chilling thing about it are some of the wonderful vintage photographs that are included in the book. Honestly, just watch the trailer for the movie and it will give you a great idea of what the novel is actually like.
The main character, Jacob, finds himself on a remote island off the coast of Wales where he is looking to uncover his grandfather's past. What he finds are the ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but also encounters the kids he has seen in his grandfather's old photographs, and somehow they seem as if they haven't aged a day.
The setup for the story is intriguing to say the least, and the mysterious fantasy mood set in the beginning is extremely promising. Sadly, once Jacob finds the Home, the story comes to a halt, offering a lot of awkward dialogue, and characters who barely do anything, pretty much until about the last 100 pages. And speaking of Jacob, the most interesting and relatable thing about him is his relationship with his grandfather—other than that he often comes off as a spoiled brat. Look, I get it, teenage angst is one of the trademarks of Young Adult fiction, but this kid is about as privileged as it gets, so excuse me for not being able to feel bad for him while he's on a mission to get fired from his job and treating it as a challenge because his family owns the company.
And then there is the romance... Aside from it not being well-written, it's hard to ignore the fact how wrong and weird it is (for reasons I will not reveal because of spoilers). Unless you're Jacob, of course, who considers this for about a few minutes, but it doesn't really stop him because he's having too much fun.
I don't think I've ever had this extreme of an experience really enjoying the book in the beginning, and gradually becoming more annoyed by it, to the point of not liking it all that much by the end. I loved the premise and the setting, I loved the vintage photos, and I will admit that once things finally got going towards the end I was once again interested in the outcome. But the drawn out middle section, the awkward dialogue, the off-putting romance, and the unlikeable protagonist slowly ruined my enjoyment of what could have been an atmospheric and imaginative read.
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