I only became aware of this book after seeing the trailer for the upcoming movie, and as it looked interesting and having seen a few other reviewers raving about it, I thought it would be worth a read. Unfortunately I was a little disappointed in it, but I think that is in part because I had very high hopes for it.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a children’s book in the same vein as Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. It follows Jacob Portman, whose life it is turned upside down by the death of his grandfather in mysterious circumstances. Believing himself to be on the verge of madness, he sets out to discover the truth of his grandfather’s fantastical tales and his dark past, and finds far more than expected.
A great deal of the appeal of the books are the liberally sprinkled peculiar Victorian photographs, which show children seemingly able to fly, lift giant boulders and an invisible man. These are interspersed throughout the book and referred to in the text and they do add to the overall creepiness of the plot.
I actually enjoyed the first part of the book far more than the second. I felt that the sense of leery paranoia was far better communicated, and was a little let down by the reveals of the second half. I would also question whether Ransom Riggs has ever been to Wales, or even the UK, as his Welsh accents leave much to be desired.
Despite this, I enjoyed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It is a tale of adventure, although I was saddened that much of the creepiness didn’t hold out for me as the story progressed. With narrative devices such as time travel, monsters and a Charles Xavier type school for unusual children, this is a great book for younger teenagers. While some books of this type can still be enjoyable for adults, I felt this one lacked the depth to perform in that regard. I enjoyed it, but feel no particular desire to pick up the sequels.
The film appears to have changed a few things from the books, such as the peculiar abilities of one of the main characters, and I suspect that it may benefit from this. It’s being produced by Tim Burton, which no doubt means that the creepy factor will be amped up.
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