February 18, 2013

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I'm going to take the unpopular route on this one.  It started off with a bang and I was deeply absorbed, and then about a third of the way in the book just sort of fizzled out for me.

Jacob has been haunted by nightmares and other strange instances since the death of his grandfather, who was quite strange himself.  One could even say, peculiar.  On the advice of his shrink, he and his father go off to an island in Europe where his grandfather stayed in an orphanage growing up until the war came to that area.  There he hopes to find the mysterious Miss Peregrine, the headmistress of the orphanage who might still be alive all this time later.  But what he finds is much more, a time loop, where peculiar children still dwell.

Jacob is about the only character I can really relate to in this entire book.  He's your average teenager, dealing with grief and a little more.  And it's easy why he would want to make a journey to see what happened in his grandfather's past.  Although I do think he accepts what he discovers a little too easily.  Miss Peregrine actually struck me as the bad guy in this one, even though she isn't supposed to be.  Just her way of running the school doesn't sit with me well.  There's a lack of freedom.  And the kids, well they are all peculiar but none of them have standout personalities.  They're kind of flat with minimal description aside from their strangeness.

The plot did not go how I wanted to.  Sure it sets itself up for a decent series that intrigued me enough to read it.  But with the creepy photos in the book (the best part of the book, absolutely marvelous) and the headmistress keeping kids safe in a time loop for all time,  I expected it to be a scary narration that it actually wasn't.  Something eerie and haunting that gives you dreams at night like the picture on the cover does.  Instead it was more of a fantasy with some adventure thrown in at the end.  But the cover promised creepy, and I sorely was disappointed at the lack of it.  The pace moved rather fast too and while I'm impressed the author was able to make a story out of random found pictures, I'm just not sure I like how he carried it out in the second half of the book.

I'll still be reading the rest of the books.  It was enough to intrigue me but I think so many other things could have been done with this book and the wonderful pictures it contains.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Copyright 2011
351 pages

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