Saturday 14 July 2012

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Source: Publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads:
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And 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 who once lived here - one of whom was his own grandfather - were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow - impossible though it seems - they may still be alive

I first heard about this book over a year ago, and it immediately piqued my curiosity. But actually, this book exceeded all my expectations of it.

The story is interspersed with genuine weird old photographs, like the picture on the front cover, which if you look closely, you can see that the little girl actually looks as if she is floating. The book is full of these really interesting and mysterious pictures. Having the visual there made what I was reading seem so much more real.

Jacob has grown up listening to his grandfather's odd stories about growing up in an orphange with children with special powers, ruled over by the strict bird-like Miss Peregrine. But with his grandfather steadily getting more and more erratic and confused, Jacob starts to wonder what is real and what was just a fantastic story. When his grandfather dies suddenly in bizarre circumstances Jacob decides that he needs to travel to the orphanage where he his grandfather grew up, and try to find out the truth behind the stories.

Most of the book is set in a remote island in Wales. As Jacob starts to explore the quirky island and finds the old abandoned orphanage it becomes clear that something is definitely not right, and that it might be possible that somehow the children from his grandfather's old stories might still be alive...

The back cover of the hardback edition.
Before starting this book I wondered if the fact that it was based around some old pictures would make it feel forced, as if the story had to be twisted to fit the pictures- but it doesn't at all- the story flows so well, and the photographs nicely complement it, and just give it that something extra.

I loved the magical writing style, and the witty humour throughout the narrative which meant I had a permanent smirk on my face all the time I was reading this book. And there is a love story too!

But underlying all the strangeness and the mystery is a sense of menace and danger. Jacobs grandfather was running from something, and we never find out until nearly the end exactly what the real danger is. The bad characters in this are truly sinister. I liked this slow unravelling of new facts and wondrous revelations. The pace is very even but keeps you constantly engaged.

One of the best things about this book is the characters, Jacob is so flawed but lovable, and all the children so interesting, and at times a little bit creepy! I loved Jacob's complicated relationship with Emma- his grandfather's old flame. All the children of Miss Peregrine's home are special in their different ways, mischievous and odd- and it's strange to think that they are frozen in this time loop- doomed to repeat the same perfect summer day every day for years on end. 

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is adventurous, exciting, magical and addictive, and such a wonderful story. This is such a quirky book- fun and so unique, and such an easy read. I just loved it.


Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is now out in paperback. There is set to be a sequel out next year, which is as yet untitled.

Film rights have been bought by 20th Century Fox, with rumours that Tim Burton is interested in directing. I think that Tim Burton would be perfect to direct the adaptation of this book, because it has a definite Tim Burton-esque feel to it. It's very like the film Big Fish, because it is set in a modern time but it has that magical feeling that fairytales are real and anything could happen.

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds really mysterious and intriguing...although a little creepy too! I want to read it, but I don't know if I'll be too scared too - I don't like scary stories! :)


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