Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My second book for #MakeMeRead read-a-thon is the incredibly interesting novel Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Two years ago, I flipped through the graphic novel version of the books and it piqued my interest, but for me, there wasn't enough narrative for me to really love the book. This lead to me buying to actual book and it has sat on my bookshelf ever since, unread. For that reason, and the upcoming movie release, is what made me choose it for this challenge, although it had nowhere near the amount of votes that  Red Queen did, only coming in with just over 80 votes.

(Source: Kelsey Darling)

Five Sentence Summary

Jacob Portman grew up listening to stories and looking at pictures of the children that his grandfather lived with in a childrens home in an island off of Wales; but as he grew older, the stories became more myth than fact, and like his parents, began believing his grandfathers stories were just that. After Jacob finds his grandfather on the verge of death after being attacked by a monster, Jacob is plagued by his grandfathers last words and the terrifying image of the thing that killed him. Through a series of events, Jacob convinces his father to go to the island so he can make peace with his grandfathers past, and maybe learn the truth about his mysterious death; but what Jacob finds is a wormhole back to September 3, 1940 and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob learns about the children and their abilities, as well as how is grandfather played a role in their lives, Jacob also learns of the dangers that go along with being Peculiar and that Jacob himself is also in danger from the same creatures that killed his grandfather, the wights and hollowgasts (hollows). In the end, Jacob must decide if he wants to spend the rest of his life waiting for the wights to take him out, or continue on this adventure with the Peculiar children and say goodbye to his former life.

Paramount Moments and Dissatisfying Moments
  • I do like the uniqueness of this world that Riggs has created. The mixture of being stuck in one day continuously and the abilities of the peculiar children make for an interesting experience for the reader and make you think that anything is possible.
(Source: Giphy)
  • The bond shared between Jacob and his grandfather is sweet; even as he gets older and stops believing the stories, he still has a bond with him that Jacob doesn't have with his father or that his father had with the grandfather. It really shows that it is important for children to have a connection with an important adult in their lives that they feel they can be completely themselves with.
"Really, Jake, you were closer to him than I ever was. I don't know-there was just something unspoken between the two of you." (p. 87)
  • The photos throughout the book add an interesting touch to the book and help immerse you in the world. While there is nothing hauntingly scary about them, they are peculiar and interesting and they make you wonder about the story behind it.
"All of the pictures in this book are authentic, vintage found photographs...They were lent from the personal archives of ten collectors, people who have spent years and countless hours hunting through giant bins of unsorted snapshots at flea markets and antiques malls and yard sales to find a transcendent few, rescuing images of historical significance and arresting beauty from obscurity...." (p. 350)
  • I felt like Ransom Riggs had a tendency to get carried away with his vocabulary, adding to much description, being too repetitive, and using bigger words unnecessarily. One of the best writing lessons I ever learned was just because you can use a big or seldom used word doesn't mean you need to. You need to know your audience and it needs to work with the story you're trying to tell or the point you're trying to get across. I felt like some words were picked out the thesaurus at random. 
(Source: Giphy)
  • None of the characters had anything that really made me attach to them; I didn't find myself needing to know what happened to them. Aside from their abilities that made the peculiar, I found them quite average.
Despite Riggs love for adjectives, he does a good job of not telling the reader too much. You learn what you need to know and he leaves it with enough mystery that you want to know more about the world he has invented. And he does a good job of creating an interesting villain that you don't see coming, as well as the villains motives. 

For me, the book wasn't a page turner and I occasionally found myself thinking about something else and then having to re-read what I had just read because I felt like Riggs was rambling. I wasn't completely disappointed with the books, but I expected more. I have heard such wonderful things about it from friends and strangers alike, so I do feel a little let down. I know I will read the other books in the series, but I won't be rushing to start them. 

Rating: 6/10
Pages: 348 (hardcover)
Series: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult

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