Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is the story of sixteen year old Jacob. For years, people have thought his grandfather to be mad, ranting about monsters out to get him. However, after his mysterious death in the woods, witness by Jacob, his grandson begins to come round to the idea of supernatural beings. He travels to a remote island off the coast of Wales to the orphanage where his grandfather grew up in an attempt to try and uncover the secrets of his grandfather’s past. What he finds there is not at all what he expected and is very much peculiar.
Miss Peregrine’s Home is one of the most talked about YA books of the year and the film adaption by Tim Burton hit cinema screens earlier this month. As such, I had hugely high expectations of this novel and unfortunately this story didn’t quite live up to them. What struck me most was just how different this story was to what I imagined. I spent the first few chapters trying to wrap my head around this world and the layout of the book, which was just so peculiar. Instead of being very supernatural, this book was gothic. It’s not really ‘magic’ per say but rather strange and spooky beings. The whole vibe of the book was very different from what I expected, not altogether in a bad way.
The world created by Ransom Riggs is wonderfully imaginative and unlike anything I have ever read before. You get alternate realities, time travel, the supernatural, the strange, so many different genres and styles are mixed together to make this perfectly bizarre novel. You will undoubtedly fall in love with all the children, who all seem so innocent and sweet, but most importantly, are all so very peculiar. Each child is peculiar in a different way and it’s fascinating to read about all their different ‘powers’.
Weirdly, the characters Jacob and Emma came across as incredibly young to me when reading this so it came as a shock when later on I found a photo of them and they are in fact in their late teens. The relationship between them seems rather infantile and is borderline creepy at times (you’ll see what I mean when you read it). The children all seem very infantile and the photos show them to be quite young too, so I’m not really sure what to make of that. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how all these characters are brought to life on the big screen as I think this story could be adapted to each and every person’s own imagination in a very different way.
The most notable thing about this book when you pick it up is the photographs found every few pages. They are scattered throughout the whole novel and are really quite chilling. They are all in black and white and depict strange children and adults from centuries gone by. Without these, I think this book would have been a little creepy but with them it is haunting. These definitely add a whole other dimension to the story and make it feel so much more ‘real’. There were a few passages that I genuinely found uncomfortable to read because they were scary or ‘horrific’. I did think it strange to find these passages in a kid’s book but fit in well with the rest of the story and make it that little bit more exciting.
All in all, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is an excellent start to a bizarre series. This book gets off to a very slow start, but if you stick with it, it starts to come together in the second half. This book is definitely more of an “introduction” to the series as it introduces us to Jacob’s world and the strange things in it; however, there isn’t a huge amount of action, which is disappointing. The last few chapters are very exciting and this book ends on a cliffhanger so I still have high hopes for the rest of the series, but this one didn’t quite live up to expectations. I’d definitely still recommend it though and would say that readers should stick with it for the wonderful world building and the excitement yet to come!
Have you read Miss Peregrine’s Home? Seen the film? What did you think?