Book Review | Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
SERIES: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1
AUTHOR: Ransom Riggs
PUBLISHER: Quirk
RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2011
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
PAGE COUNT: 352


Ransom Riggs’ debut novel combines vintage photographs with fast-paced fantasy.  Although this book has a unique vision, poorly developed characters let it down.

After a horrific family tragedy, 16-year-old Jacob travels to a tiny island off the coast of Wales to investigate his grandfather’s mysterious past.  There he finds a home for children with extraordinary abilities, hidden from the outside world.  However, evil lurks one step behind him, hellbent on destroying both his world and that of the peculiar children.  

I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.  The first of these came as a terrible shock and, like anything that changes you forever, split my life into halves: Before and After.  Like many of the extraordinary things to come, it involved my grandfather, Abraham Portman – page 1

Jacob is an unconvincing narrator.  His voice seems to belong to a much older character, and he regularly fails to explain the thoughts and feelings behind his impulsive actions.  Although his interactions with the other children are more believable, the lack of emotional depth and motivation makes the characters feel one-dimensional.  That said, the individual children’s unique abilities are dynamic.

The book has an eerie atmosphere that doesn’t match the Gothic vibe of the photographs scattered throughout.  The marketing gave me the impression it would be a horror, but it’s really a fantasy adventure story.

Although the photographs are the book’s biggest selling point, they limit readers from using their own imaginations.  In fact, too much description is one of Riggs’ recurring flaws.  The pace of the opening chapters are bogged down by unnecessary details.  Pruning this back could have helped to drive plot.  Despite a slow start, the plot contains enough twists and turns to hold your attention.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is far from perfect, but still a fun read.  With such an inventive vision, I’m intrigued to see how the series will (hopefully) improve as the plot and characters develop.

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