Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

Published: June 7th 2011, Quirk
Pages: 348 pages, hardback
Series?: Yes, this is book one. Book two is due out in 2013
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. 

It all waits to be discovered in "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. 

As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here--one of whom was his own grandfather--were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow--impossible though it seems--they may still be alive. 

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

My review: It's impossible to pick up Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and not feel something when you look at the cover. For me, it made me desperate to devour the story inside. I know I've been tricked by brilliant covers more than once but I was convinced I would love this one. For once, I was right. Hooray!

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is one of the most unique novels I've read in such a long time. It has a real classic feel to it and it felt like I was reading an old horror novel, rather than a new release, which is something I really enjoyed. The tension from the outset is palpable and, although the novel isn't a horror, it does definitely borrow from elements from the genre. The shadows lurking on the periphery of the story, the children who are slightly...off, the isolated island - it all comes together and create a truly unforgettable story that I urge all of you to pick up.

The writing is tight and well-edited and, despite the relative long length for a YA novel, I didn't find myself getting bored at any point. I read this one in a few sittings (after reading the beginning, loving it but then having to pack it away when we redecorated earlier in the year) and the pace dipped up and down perfectly. There's a lot to get through here and the story does require you to suspend your disbelief somewhat but I had no issues with any of the more fantastical elements, as the world Riggs creates is so easy to get lost in.

My only real criticism is with the love story, which didn't grab me at all. As it so often the case with horror novels (or novels with horrific elements), I don't think a love story was necessary and the book would have worked just as well without it. Of course, it may become more important in the sequel but, in this installment at least, all it did was creep me out a little. That's a small niggle, though, as I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully presented, wonderfully written novel.

First line: I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary, when extraordinary things began to happen.

Plot: 4/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Total: 15/20 (B)

1 comment:

  1. I love how wonderfully this book is put together. The creepy cover, the photographs. I've had a copy sitting on my shelves for AGES and it really needs to be read.


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