Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

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 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. (From Goodreads.)

I have conflicting emotions about this story. Certain aspects are beyond incredible, while others made the read barely tolerable. I laid it down for two weeks about halfway through and didn't give it a second thought. I did pick it back up, but it didn't exactly "stick" with me. For that reason, I don't feel I can fairly rate the story, but here are my thoughts.

The Good: I've never read a story quite like this. It's completely unique in every way. The pictures and ideas behind them are brilliant! They really added a special touch to the plot. Another plus, I appreciated reading a story from a guy's POV. It adds a different flavor that's much appreciated. The time travel/sci-fi feel was a neat idea, and it worked well to fall under a multi-genre kind of story. The writing was witty and Riggs has a humorous way with descriptions. I loved the quirky, Tim Burton-esque feel of the story. The settings were just phenomenal! Riggs nailed the eerie factor on this one. A scarcely populated island. An enormous, creepy manor. The "bad" guys … Just perfect. And his lead-ups into scary scenes were very well done. 

The Mediocre: Some of the characters lacked depth. I found it frustrating to want to know more or expect more in a certain scene, only to be disappointed. Explanations fell short in some places, leaving me confused or unsatisfied that everything had played out fully. There were times where the story stalled, as if he'd run out of ideas and was just looking to fill the white spots in the pages. In the end (as much as I hate to say it), I don't feel like the story lived up to its potential. I think Riggs would've benefited from a little more exploration in the characters a little bit at a time as opposed to this is xxx and their power and this is what xxx can do. It felt rushed. A picture isn't enough to truly see a character. It would've been nice to have Riggs show us with writing versus relying on the photographs. More often than not, opportunities were missed to really make it sing. 

All in all, it's a decent read. Fans of Burton and all things eclectic will like it. I did enjoy Riggs writing style and would recommend Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ... just don't get your hopes up too much.

By: Izzie

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