*This review is spoiler-free!*
“We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing them becomes too high.”
Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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 were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
Feelings: This book was nothing like I thought it would be, but at the same time I didn’t know anything about it when I picked it up. I guess I judged the book by its cover. For some reason, I thought it would be like the TV show American Horror Story and considering I’m not about that life, I avoided this book like the plague. I’m so glad I ignored my own misgivings and dove right in. I saw a video on YouTube with Ransom Riggs and his wife Tahereh Mafi (whom I love) and immediately thought…I like this guy…I’m going to read his book.
Sometimes characters need to dump information on you all at once. Other times, they slowly fill in the gaps for you. This story had the former, and it worked out swimmingly. There was a lot of mysterious buildup, then you learn what’s going on all in one sitting. This worked for this story. In others, it seems like, “Wait! Wait! You just told me everything and it’s only page 5!” Honestly, if we’d gone any longer without some background knowledge, I probably would have given up. Thanks for not playing with me, Riggs. Much obliged.
Issues: As you can tell from the previous paragraph, the beginning of the book lagged for me. Throughout the book, the pacing was touch and go. Sometimes there’d be action and we’d be running and shouting and doing things that would spoil events…other times I’d literally scan paragraphs looking for the next interesting thing to happen.
I don’t do well with mystery shrouded in bewilderment on top of anticipations galore. At the same time, this had all the makings of my type of story. It has the historical element from WWII, supernatural gifts, funny characters, maybe a little romance, and science. I feel like this book could have been an episode or storyline arc in Doctor Who.
Characters: Honestly, I don’t usually gravitate towards books told from the teenage male POV. Call me crazy, but I find it hard to connect to these characters. Jacob, however, was clever and funny and thoughtful…I was so in sync with him. He has such a strong voice, which is a testament to Riggs’ writing style.
I loved the various peculiar children and Miss Peregrine and I’m hoping for more of them in Hollow City. I’m a huge X-Men fan, mostly because I love all of their powers and abilities, so I really enjoyed that element in this book. (Don’t imagine Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters…it’s really not like that…it’s a loose comparison.) I wasn’t sure how to feel towards Emma…I wanted to empathize with her, but I wasn’t always rooting for her. Her emotions be 50 shades of confused.
Final thoughts: This book is wholly unique. There’s really nothing about it that I could compare to another book, which I love. I really enjoyed the pictures that help tell the story. I read this on my Kindle, but I want to read the sequel as a hardback so I can see the pictures better.
Tim Burton is spear-heading the movie adaptation, which is exciting! I just IMDb-ed the film and the cast looks awesome. Dame Judi Dench for the win.
Goodreads rating: 3.8/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.3/5
My rating: 4.25/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn