Thursday, 28 July 2011

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine #1)
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Publishing
Publication Date: June 7th, 2011
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, Mystery

When Jacob Portman was a child, his grandfather would tell him stories about the orphanage in Wales where he grew up during World War II. The orphanage was home to many peculiar children, including a levitating girl, an invisible boy, and a brother and sister who both had super strength. Grandpa Portman had a collection of old photographs that supported his tales, which he shared with his grandson. As Jacob grew up, he came to realize that the photographs were faked and that his grandfather’s stories were just fairy tales. At fifteen, Jacob has just accepted that he will live an ordinary life, only to then witness something extraordinary. After his grandfather’s suspicious death, Jacob is haunted by the strange creature he may have seen and by his grandfather’s mysterious last words. Jacob begins to see a psychiatrist who encourages him to delve into his grandfather’s past, so that he will finally find closure about his death. This leads him and his father to a small island in Wales, where Jacob sets out to explore the orphanage and perhaps meet Miss Peregrine, the headmistress. Will exploring the old and abandoned orphanage help him understand his grandfather’s death and his last words?

Despite the hype about his book (including a positive review from John Green) I was a bit hesitant to start it, mainly because my library classifies it as horror. I thought it was going to be a terrifying and morbid book, and was nervous about reading it. I’ve never read a horror book or seen a horror film before, and I get freaked out really easily. Anyways, I obviously gave it a shot (and I’m glad I did) and I’m not sure it actually is horror. I obviously don’t know anything about the genre, but the book is more paranormal, or even fantasy.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children exceeded my expectations. I thought it was amazing. Original vintage photographs appear throughout the novel, which was one of the things I loved. The photos make the book itself visually appealing and add to the over all mood and tone of the novel. The photographs are one of the first things that caught my interest, but they don’t overshadow the rest of the novel. The story itself is great- I don’t want to give away too much about what happens, since I think it’s important, in this case, that everything that occurs is unexpected. I was drawn into the plot and into the mystery behind the life of Grandpa Portman. I liked Jacob as the protagonist and was very interested in the children, especially Emma and Millard. I really wanted to know more about them and their pasts and I hope that that will be revealed in a possible sequel. I’ve heard some people say that they rather this book not be part of a series, since a follow up could fall flat. I think that Riggs could pull off a sequel just as good as the original. His fantasy world is well shaped and fascinating. I was engrossed in this book and found it to be well written and very imaginative.

Overall, this book was wonderful and unique. It was creepy in a good way, and very fresh and original.

4.5/5

"I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was."

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