Would my first trip to Europe be spent evading drunken maniacs and watching birds evacuate their bowels on rocky beaches? Maybe so. But if it meant that I’d finally be able to put my grandfather’s mystery to rest and get on with my unextraordinary life, anything I had to endure was worth it.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This book is overdue and it’s costing me a dollar something at the library. So I’m reviewing it now despite having homework because I am poor and also because I liked this book and wanted people to know how good it was right away.
(Let’s ignore the fact that I finished this weeks ago making this not at all right away.)
Alright so this story is about a boy named Jacob who has a crazy grandpa. Jacob likes adventures and he’s always listening to dear old gramp’s stories about the strange home he escaped to from the Nazis. The home was filled with peculiar kids with varying talents. From girls who can make fire, to people with mouths on the backs of their heads. Grandpa’s stories are all supported by bizarre pictures depicting the things he talked about. When Jacob gets older, he realizes these stories can’t possibly be true– that the monsters were just the Nazis; that the home’s fantastic children was a way of coping.
Then, Jacob witnesses his grandpa’s death at the hands of one of the monsters and suddenly, anything is possible. He writes it off as crazy at first, but eventually embarks on a trip to Miss Peregrine’s home, where he discovers the truth.
The writing in this story was wonderful. As I read, I kept stopping and thinking, “Wow, I haven’t had something as nice as this in a long time.” Rigg’s was wonderfully unafraid of using big words, and in doing so, Jacob had a mature voice that really stood out among the more blunt first-person narrators we see these days.
Sometimes, I think people write first-person as an excuse to use choppy writing to mask a lack of talent. But there were real, full, complete sentences and fleshed out thoughts here. Clear talent. It was nice.
I also enjoyed the fact that this book was from a boy’s point of view. It’s always refreshing because…I’m not sure. Female characters almost always have the same personality in adventures– impulsive, rebellious, daring– and Jacob was different. He was adventurous, but very pragmatic. He definitely thought before he acted. And he was smart, but it was shown by his decisions, not because he mentioned he had 7 AP classes (is that even possible?).
Unfortunately, with the name and the cover, I can’t see many lads picking this book up. I honestly thought it was gonna be some cheap mystery with a girl and some hot ghost or something. It was so far from that, but like, if I got lead astray, I feel like guys wouldn’t even give it a passing glance. And that’s a shame.
Another smashing feature was the concept. The plot. The story itself. It really stood out alongside the crappy dystopias and desperate paranormal romances. It was mysterious, deliciously creepy, and so unique that I think there was nothing I could’ve guessed at. The lore in the story was clearly well thought out and the book explained it perfectly. No confusion, no plot holes.
I found it well paced and the events that took place realistic. Jacob gets caught up in this adventure, but his dad is also there and while Jacob is piecing together clues, his family becomes more fleshed out and you start to see why the choices Jacob makes at the end of the story are easy. It’s all very linear and it makes a lot of sense.
The ending was a bit cliffhanger-y, and I’ve heard there is a sequel coming out. Which would be great. I have this rule, which is if you are writing a trilogy, it must be planned. If you defeat your main villain in book one– movie one, episode one, whatever– then the rest of the trilogy will suck. You’ll be forced to make a new plotline based on one that’s mostly completed and suddenly you’ll end up with a Pirates of the Caribbean, not a Lord of the Rings. Series are supposed to be continuous, one long story-line.
While this book’s ending is certainly satisfying, it’s not a hard leap to see where future novels would take us because there is still a villain at large and there is enough content and background to supplement further investigation into this world.
Putting aside everything I’ve said, I think what really makes this book good are the pictures that dot the chapters. Like the one on the cover, they are a perfect blend of freaky and enticing. It makes everything seem so much more real and alive because, well in a sense evidence is staring you right in the face. I think it was a fantastic touch and really innovative.
This is a book I would definitely recommend. It transcends gender and age and I deeply hope the forthcoming books will live up to the strengths of this one.
0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…
1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.
2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.
3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.
4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).
5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.
6 and above. What I want my book to be.