Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Review: I first heard about Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children last year and it has taken me a year to pick it up. I, like most people, was instantly drawn to it because of the cover and old photographs that are scattered throughout the book. I didn’t realize at the time that these are vintage photographs — actually real and taken from personal collections — rather than created especially for the book. This is just one aspect of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children that adds exciting realism to the story.
Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham Portman, escaped the Nazis during WWII, though his family were not as fortunate, but there are other ‘monsters’ that continue to haunt him. In contrast, Jacob has spent most of his ‘ordinary’ life listening to his grandfather’s ‘fairy tales’ of mysterious children who can levitate, become invisible, and play host to a swarm of bees. Jacob is about to experience just how extraordinary his life could be…
Ransom Riggs expertly crafts eerie anticipation and build-up throughout the story. It is slow, but doesn’t at all drag. Cairnholm reminded me a little of Shutter Island and that’s how I pictured it – perfectly average, in a way, but tinged with a sense of something not quite right. Although you might first assume that Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a horror novel, it is neither horror nor a thriller, but instead a spectacular, bizarre mystery. A highlight of the novel for me was watching everything unravel and become clear to Jacob as well as myself.
Who is Miss Peregrine? What happened to the orphanage? What part does Abe play? Halfway through the story, these questions begin to be answered, and it takes us to a world of fantasy and folklore involving the peculiars. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a wonderfully cinematic story and I could easily visualise every odd conversation, every magical curiosity, every discovery, leading up to the ‘big event’ at the end of the book.
The magical elements were gripping, even though it is not my first choice of genre, because it constantly blurred the boundaries between fantasy and reality, which made me go with the story and believe it could be true. I thought that every single character stood out (in particular Emma and Millard!) although I wish we could have found out more about their individual histories (perhaps in the sequel, published next year?).
I also think it would’ve been interesting (and possibly creepier) if the children acted more as adults, because, after all, some of them are over one hundred years old. But, then again, they are not exactly ‘normal’ human beings. Even so, I thought everything – the pacing, the little dropped hints, the strange events, and Jacob’s narrative, worked together extremely well to create a fascinating and enjoyable plot.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a wonderfully unique and inventive book with colorful characters, a mysterious story, and a splash of historical relevance, incorporating vintage photographs that bring the story to life.
Buy it here:
Also see:Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs