Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publishing Info: June 2013 by Quirk Books (first published 2011)
Star Rating: 4/5
Back Cover Summary:
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of 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 bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s 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.
I’ve been dying to read this book since I heard about it. A young adult novel with photographs in it? Photography being another of my hobbies, this was a rather big draw, and it sounded like such a unique and interesting read. The photographs used are all authentic found photographs, not ones taken for the purpose of the book. There’s an interview at the end of the edition I have with Ransom Riggs in which he talks about how he found and used the photographs.
Is the story completely original? No, I mean, that’s not really possible. Yes, I guess the plot/concept is kind of similar to X-Men. However, where X-Men is very much science-fiction, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is quite different and has a more fantastical and paranormal feel to it. Peculiar, is in fact, a perfect word to describe the book.
Jacob wasn’t anything special as far as main characters go. It was a pretty standard first person narration from his point of view. Many of the other characters also weren’t that fleshed out. Characterisation seemed to be less of a priority that the concept, plot and aesthetic of the book. I’ve seen worse characterisation, but this aspect of the book definitely needed more development.
The plot kept me interested and there were surprises along the way. It wasn’t as creepy as I was expecting, which is fine for me as I’m not a fan of horror. At times it did unfortunately feel like the story was forced to fit the photographs or vice versa, which is a shame. I did enjoy the plot though and wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next.
As the first book a trilogy, it seems like this first one is a lot of set up for the next one, as if this is just an introduction to the characters and concept, in order for the main plot to actually start in the second book.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and wasn’t disappointed. I’m looking forward to reading the second and third books – and also seeing the film adaptation.