Review : Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Posted by on December 18, 2011 3:38 pm in 4 stars reads | 6 comments

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Pages : 348
Genre : YA, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Series : Yes
My Rating :

What it’s about :

Jacob’s grandfather told him many stories about the kids he grew up with, unbelievable ones about children with superpowers and monsters.  Jacob has always thought there was no truth to the old man’s tales, until he travels to Wales and explores Miss Peregrine’s Home, the house where his grandfather spent his younger years. What is there was some truth to it, after all?

My Thoughts :

When Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children first started to appear on blogs last spring, I was, like many other readers, immediately drawn to its creepy cover and intriguing title. The summary begged you to read the book : “A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.” It felt useless to try resisting, so I got myself a copy very early after its release.

Did Miss Peregrine delivered on all of its promises? Not for me, I have to say. Though it was an enjoyable read, it also sent me into one of those states where I felt like I had a split-personality disorder : “I love it! No, no I don’t, I just like it. But I love the pictures! No I don’t. And I don’t enjoy the book at all. Yes I do! And those pictures are a fantastic touch!”

There were two problems for me with this book, that kept me from loving it instead of just liking it. The first was the fact that there are two distinct parts in the book : the first one reads like a dark, almost gothic mystery, that could with a few tweaks end up on the adult literature shelves. The second part reads like a fantasy/historical fiction that would belong on the Young Adult shelves (which is where I have seen this book so far). While I enjoy both genres, it was a strange shift between the two. It wasn’t badly done and I enjoy books that mix genres in a unique, new way, but for a reader who would enjoy gothic novels but not YA fantasy, I’m thinking the change might be disconcerting.

My second problem was the fact that the pictures sometimes felt forced into the story. There are a few instances where I really felt that the author had added a few lines to the story just so he could justify including a picture he found interesting.

That being said, I love, love, love having pictures alongside a story like this, and some did feel like effortless additions that enriched the story. I love the idea of using old photographs that are clearly “photoshopped” the old way, and then turning around and saying “Wait, there’s no trick! These pictures are true!” It brings back that feeling of being a kid, when fiction and reality were one and you felt like magic was there, right under your fingertips. It’s a beautiful feeling!

In the end – wait.

There is no end.

There is NO end!

Because Miss Peregrine’s last pages gives you a few answers, only to tell you “see ya in the next book if you want to know more!”. A book that is planned for 2013. Or something like that. I’m definitely looking forward to it though!

So, I did enjoy the book. It won’t make my 2011 best-of list, but I liked it enough to at least recommend that, if you think you might enjoy part 1 or 2 (and especially 2), you should give it a try! :)

6 Comments

  1. My major issue with this book was that same forced writing to get the pictures in. I loved the concept, but didn’t really like the execution. I’m not sure I”ll read the other books when they come out.

  2. Someone else complained about the story being written around the pictures. I think the concept is fun and I’d still like to give it a try.

  3. OK, the idea of there being no ending is rather annoying… not to mention the fact that I thought this was a standalone novel! Hmm… well, since I already own it I will have to give a try…

  4. I really want to read this book, it’s been on my Wishlist for some time now. I hope I don’t find the shift bad since I know about it now and I cna prepae myself accordingly :)

    I also didn’t know there are pictures in this book.

  5. I keep going back and forth with this book, and can’t decide if I want to read it or not… I did get a really good look at it at the bookshop the other day, and I have to say that I was very intrigued, but DANG IT! I CAN’T DECIDE!! It helps a lot to have read your review though, and to discover some things about the book that I had not known. Very thoughtful and honest review today!

  6. I felt the same way you did about the split personality of the book. I didn’t realize it was YA until about 25 pages in. I also had a terrible time understanding the actual paranormal aspects of the story. But I, too, liked the pictures.

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