Sunday, 25 September 2016

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

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 352
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

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.
I have had this book since Christmas 2015 and I have only just got around to reading it. Better late then never! It was really different to what I was expecting and I was pleasantly surprised. The creepy vintage photographs were without doubt the best part of the whole book. I found them fascinating yet also deeply unsettling at the same time. I think the concept of writing a story linking together all of the weird photographs was something I had never come across before, and despite how much I loved looking at them, I'm not entirely convinced it worked all that well.

The plot was incredibly predictable but overall I did enjoy it. I really loved the abilities of all the children and the world of the peculiar in general. Is it quality writing? Not really. Would I have enjoyed it as much if the photographs weren't there? Definitely not. At times the writing style felt like it was more suited to children's or middle grade rather than YA, which is fine but at times the world-building felt a little too simple for my tastes. I have to admit I was thoroughly creeped out by the hollows and wights, I think the use of the weather to build tension and atmosphere was really well done also.

As you can probably tell, I have mixed feelings about this book. If it were not for the photographs carrying the story along I would have given it a lower rating, but at the same time the story was enjoyable, it's a shame the writing style did let it down for me ultimately. The ending felt rushed but it did leave me curious enough to want to pick up the second book, Hollow City. Regardless, I would still recommend Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children to readers who want to read a creepy fantasy that is fast-paced and unique.

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