Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

Cover of Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine #1)
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publication date: May 20, 2012
Publisher: Quirk Books
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59474-606-2
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Synopsis

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.

My thoughts

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children has been on my wishlist for quite a long time so when I was contacted by the publisher and was sent a review copy, I couldn’t wait to get started. What made me want to pick it up in the first place was the fact that it’s so different from everything else out there. It’s illustrated with vintage photographs of peculiar children who might seem really creepy at first but their presence makes perfect sense once you’re reading the story. To be honest, I sort of expected something darker but it turned out to be completely different. It’s rather a mysterious adventure than a creepy horror story – but unputdownable all the same.

The first part of the novel is set in the United States – Jacob tells the story of his childhood and the stories his grandfather used to tell him when he was a kid. Stories about a levitating girl, an invisible boy, a boy who was able to lift a boulder, and bizarre tales about monsters who were after him – and of course, no one believed him. Jacob’s grandpa was actually one of my favourite characters from the book. I loved the fact that even Jacob didn’t believe him initially. Then, as he sets out on a journey to Wales in order to uncover the truth and he reveals some vital secrets, he gradually realises how wrong he’d been. And not only did his grandpa have to live in a world where he could never feel safe, he had to live with the fact that no one (including his family) would believe him. I felt really sorry for him.

With Jacob leaving Florida, there comes a shift in the story. Just like the weather which goes from bright and sunny to cold and rainy, the story’s atmosphere turns sinister and quite haunting as well. From a suburban family drama we’re transported into a whole new world – a world full of secrets, a world where bizarre creatures and levitating children do exist. For us readers, this second half of the novel seems to be like marmite – you either love it, or you hate it. I’ve heard several people say they didn’t like this shift in the story and the fact that it’s so different from how the story started out. And I do agree with them to a certain extent – it is different. It really is. But I think the tricky part is to keep in mind that it’s all fiction. Forget that the book started out like an everyday story about an everyday high school boy – it’s fantasy. And it did work for me.

The only thing I didn’t particularly like was how easily Jacob gives up his whole life and says goodbye to his family in the second half of the novel. The fact that he doesn’t really hesitate or worry about the consequences of his decision but sticks with those people whom he met only a few days previously was the only thing that I found highly unrealistic (even for fantasy). Having said that, it really is a gripping story.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is a must-have for young-adults and adults alike. It’s something that will make you want to keep on reading late at night and something that will no doubt stay with you for a long time. I can’t wait to see how the story continues!

Teaser

“It would be a lot easier to figure out what the hell was going on without a roomful of drunks threatening to lynch me. Of course, running away would only convince them of my guilt, but I didn’t care.
I tried to step around the fat man.
He made a grab for me, but slow and drunk is no match for fast and scared shitless. I faked left and then dodged around him to the right. He howled with rage as the rest unglued themselves from barstools to lunge at me, but I slipped through their fingers and run out the door into the bright afternoon.


Rating:

*Many thanks to Quirk Books for sending me a copy of this book*
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24 Responses to “Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs”

  1. Leah says:

    Great review! This book has been on my wishlist for ages. I hope I’ll get to it soon!

  2. I’ve been hesitant to pick this one up because the cover is so creepy! Glad you liked it, maybe I should give it a try :)
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    • Vicky says:

      I know, I was the same as you :) But it’s so different from what I think it would be like – so who knows? You might end up loving it! x

  3. Whoa, I really thought this would be a creepy ghost story or something and now that I get to know that it’s more of a mystery, I want to read it more.

    Great review, Vicky!
    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile recently posted..Review: Starring Me by Krista McGee + GiveawayMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      I know!!! When I first got the book and looked at all those photos, I thought it’d really freak me out. But it’s entirely different – it’s more of a mystery/adventure kinda thing :)

  4. Eustacia Tan says:

    I loved this book! I thought the photos were a nice touch(:
    Eustacia Tan recently posted..Maven Fairy Godmother by Charlotte Henley BabbMy Profile

  5. Meg K. says:

    Oh wow. Now I really want to read this book. :) This story sounds dark and mysterious–just my type! Plus, I’ve been wanting to get it for a while ever since I saw the trailer (the pictures creeped me out, too. O_O). Glad to hear that this isn’t a scary book, though I wouldn’t mind reading it even if it was.

    Great review, Vicky! :D
    Meg K. recently posted..Trilogies, Quartets, or Standalones?My Profile

  6. Wow, I’d never paid attention to this one and had no idea it uses vintage photographs. Very cool! I totally laughed at your line about loving or hating Marmite, because it’s SO true! While I’m personally of the Marmite-is-evil camp, I thought the teaser was really intriguing and I’ll definitely read this if I come across it! I hope I like it! Great review, Vicky. :)
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  7. Melissa says:

    Definitely a unique read! Not at all what I was expecting!
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  8. emaginette says:

    The last time I felt that way about a YA book was the Harry Potter series. :-)
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    • Vicky says:

      It’s actually quite similar to HP! I was talking to Celine @ Nyx Book Reviews before I started reading the book and she said the second half of the story reminded her of HP. And she was right, it really is similar! :)

  9. Great review! I really liked this one, especially the pictures (though I think I liked the pictures in the first half more than the ones in the second half). I really think it should have been a solo novel though — not a series. But we’ll see — I am eager to see what the second book will be about.
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  10. Oh, great review! I really want to read this one, because of the pictures. I never heard of that before and it really fascinates me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)
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  11. Keksi says:

    I’ve heard really great things about this one — I’ll have to check it out! :D Great review!

  12. I loved this book and had a chance to chat with the author. He is a fun guy and I loved this magical place he created. The pictures are so creepy and added to the tale. Awesome review and so glad you enjoyed it.
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  13. I definitely wanted to read this from the first time I saw it. Then when I read Celine’s review I wasn’t so sure and so I couldn’t wait to read your review once I saw your tweet about liking it so much. I defintely will move it to the top of my list. Sounds like a very enjoyable and different read. Love it when a book rocks the norm.
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  14. Dani C. says:

    I keep seeing this at Sam’s and I was wondering how it was. Thanks for your review!
    Dani C. recently posted..My Sunday EditionMy Profile

  15. I’ve heard good and bad things about this one, but I’m still rather curious–your review definitely makes me want to pick up a copy asap, though! and I just might have to. :) great review, Vicky!
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  16. Yzabel says:

    I read about that one in passing weeks ago, but didn’t pay too much attention. This was a mistake. Your review made me realize that I should definitely add it to my TBR, because it’s the kind of story I’d probably love.
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  17. Theta Sigma says:

    This was one of my earliest reads of this year and I really enjoyed it.

    As for the second half… LOVED IT!!!
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  18. Lianne says:

    I’ve seen other people complain in their reviews about how ready Jacob seems to be to give up his family, but that never really bothered me. I guess that feels normal to me in a fairy tale setting. In kids’ stories that are totally focused on the kids, parents are rarely taken into consideration. I think people just notice it more in this book because you’re actually introduced to the parents in the earlier parts of the story.
    Lianne recently posted..Bout of Books – Wrap-UpMy Profile

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