Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I´ve been thinking of reading this book for a long time. When I found out Ransom Riggs was doing an author event at my work I figured it was about time I read it. The fact that I was on holiday and had time to read more than usual didn´t hurt.
The story centers around Jacob, a bored kid from Florida with no friends leading a boring life. A horrific event early on in the book eventually (and maybe this took too much time?) leads to the island of Cairnholm off the coast of Wales and Miss Peregrine´s home for the peculiar children. Before arriving on the island Jacob goes through some serious stuff. The horrific event leads him to question everything he´s come to believe. Then he changes his mind. And then he changes it again. In short, he´s kind of a mess and doesn´t know where to turn or who to believe. This could have
Jacob has heard of Miss Peregrines home all his life, his grandfather showed him old photographs and told him tall tales of all the wonders the children can do and what a paradise the home was. What he finds on the island is not at all what he expected. It wasn´t what I expected either (though I´m not quite sure what I thought he would find).
I had some difficulty with the characters who seemed awfully one dimensional. The peculiar children for example were merely one note characters. The only thing they had going for them was the ability the author gave them. I would have like more fleshing out of the characters. I could have gone without some of the unnecessary action plot in favor of giving the characters a little more soul. Speaking of the peculiar children I found it odd that they were acting so much like children. They were fully aware of how much time had passed outside of their little world. They know they “should” be in their 70s and 80s yet they don´t act like it! One plot line I found a bit annoying was the one of Emma and it seems to me that she merely filled the hole of the mandatory romantic bit. Besides, 50 years earlier Emma was in love with Jacobs grandfather and now she falls for the grandson?
As a librarian I like to be able to fit my books into categories; science fiction, horror, urban fantasy etc etc. I couldn´t even begin to say what genre this book fits into. It´s sci-fi and magic and adventure all wrapped into one. It doesn´t, however, manage to get to the level of creepy that I think it aspires to.
I l do love the layout of the book, from the beautiful end papers, the lush pages and not to mention the many vintage photographs distributed throughout the book blending seamlessly with the story. This was how Ransom Riggs began the story. The ideas came from the photographs he found or was given. During the event at my work he shared how the photographs led him through the story; if a particular photograph called out to him he found a way to incorporate what it depicted into the story.
Unfortunately it was after Jacobs meeting with the children and Miss Peregrine that the story started to go down hill. Strong beginning then falters a bit. I´m wondering why the author chose to set the story in Wales (he revealed at the author event that he´s never been there). Sadly, it shows.
There is a second book in the works which I understand; the plot lends itself to a continuation and given the success of the first book it´s natural the author and publisher want to continue it. Hopefully the second book will be stronger than the first. There is also talks of adapting the book into a movie with Tim Burton at the helm. This is not surprising at all 🙂