Friday, 6 November 2015

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs **Review**

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Series: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #1
Pages: 352
Publisher: Quirk
Release date:
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

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Goodreads synopsis:
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.

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.

For some reason, now totally unknown to me, I kept putting off beginning this trilogy. Maybe I just thought I wasn’t in the mood for this kind of story, or something equally as silly, but I really wish I’d gotten into it sooner. Though, I suppose you could say that I don’t have to wait for the other two books to be released! That is definitely a plus to getting into this so late – I’m already in need of book two (hurry up, postman)!

The story begins with a series of family tales, passed down from grandparent to grandson. The tales resemble fairy tales in a way, but woven into Jacob’s grandfather’s childhood and filled with monsters and peculiar children. They could easily be taken as metaphorical for the holocaust, which is something that Jacob’s grandfather and his family faced during the war, having being brought up in a Jewish family in Europe, and this is exactly how Jacob sees it once he gets a little older and stops believing in the monsters and the fantastical children of his grandfather’s tales.

I love how the fantastical is woven into the real world here. It makes everything feel more real, more believable. To begin with, it doesn’t feel like a fantasy or a horror story, despite Grandpa Portman’s stories.
But we soon find out that it is. And that makes the world that Jacob discovers on the little Welsh island that much more tangible.

The setting, in the rural Welsh town off the mainland, adds yet another layer to this fantastic story. It made the whole story so much more atmospheric. It was also wonderful seeing an American author set their book in Britain, rather than the other way around. Although I like books set in America, there are far too many of them, and this really gave this book something unique.

But there are plenty of other unique things about Miss Peregrine and her home for Peculiar children. The Peculiars themselves, for example. Children who can create fire in their hands, or float above the ground, who are invisible, grow plants before your eyes, or even house a swarm of bees.
The moment Jacob met the Peculiars for the first time was the moment that the story really gripped me. That was when I didn’t want to leave their world. There was something so spectacular about them all, and yet so real … they felt like normal children, but that they definitely weren’t. I’ve really loved getting to know their characters, and I’m really quite attached to them now.

My only real complaint about this book, and the reason it didn’t get 5 stars instead of 4, is how long it took for Jacob to meet the Peculiars and for the proper story to get started. I know it could be argued that the main story begins right at the start, with Grandpa Portman and his stories, but I just found the first third of the book to be a little slow, when I wanted it to move a little faster. But I think the rest of the trilogy will be even more amazing than this first book, because we now know the characters, and the bigger plot has kicked in full force. I’m really looking forward to finding out what happens to Jacob and his friends next!

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is one of the more atmospheric books I’ve ever read, and one of the most unique. It feels both rooted in reality and totally fantastical. It got my blood pumping quickly more than just a few times, and once Jacob had met the children, I was totally, unrelentingly gripped.
I would definitely recommend this book to those who love fantasy, or even horror (even though it wasn’t as frightening as I thought it was going to be), but I think it could also appeal to those who don’t usually read those genres, as it has a very different feel to it than most fantasies I’ve read before.
I can’t wait to see what happens next!


Haraiah said...

I've been putting this off as well except now you've read it and I still haven't. I guess I really must pick this up soon since the last book is out now. I'm glad you enjoyed this!

Haraiah @ Random Things In Action

Dani C said...

You should read it!
My wish for the postman to hurry up worked ... the other two arrived this morning! :)


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