Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

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“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 read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children for the first time a couple of years ago, but since the second one came out earlier this year, I figured I’d re-read it.

I remember being so impressed with the book the first time I read it – I loved how the photos were worked into the story (some of them are actually quite creepy) and I liked the overall plot. I still like the plot and the photos, but this time around, it took me a lot longer to get into it.

Maybe it’s because I knew what was coming, but the beginning seemed to draw out for quite some time before it got to the point. I get that – the plot was being set up, it’s obviously going to be (at least) a trilogy so there’s plenty of space to get into the story, but there were moments where I found myself wishing it would speed up.

As I mentioned, I loved the creepy photos, but it repetitive every time he pointed it out i.e. before every photo, Jacob would say something like “I recognized ___ because I had seen their photo in ___’s album”. Whereas the story might have flowed better if the photos were inserted like illustrations in a children’s book: no pointing it out, just BOOM, here’s a picture, look at it and figure out how it works with the story.

“We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing in them becomes too high.”

I love how this line punches you right in the heart, especially when you read it in context. But this quotation – and a few other other moments – sound more like they’re coming from Ransom-Riggs-the-author and less like they’re being spoken (or thought) by Jacob-the-narrator. Jacob never struck me as particularly bright so when he comes up with something this poetic or profound, it seems out of place.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a fascinating read, once you get into it. The peculiar children all have interesting talents which are well-described. Actually, everything is well-described i.e. lots of detail everywhere (I have mixed feelings about details). I know it sounds like I didn’t like it, but I really did enjoy it (even though I still think the Jacob-Emma relationship – not the children, not even the time loop – is the most unbelievable aspect of the whole story.). And since Tim Burton is set to direct a movie adaptation, you know I’m going to see it (maybe I’m just biased because he’s one of my heroes, but if there’s one director who can handle something so creepy and eccentric, it’s Tim Burton).

I’m going to start reading Hollow City soon and will hopefully finish it by next Friday!

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