I first picked this book up and read the back cover in a book shop, then put it down again without buying it. Only to find myself back at the shop a week later looking for that exact book – I admit it, I was curious. Who are these peculiar children and why are they so peculiar? It has peaked my interested more than I first thought, and so I brought myself a copy.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is the story of sixteen year old Jacob who sets off from his home in Florida for a small island off the coast of Wales chasing the stories his grandfather told him when he was a boy.
He arrives on the island (father in tow I might add) to search for an orphanage which his grandfather had been in when the war started and which he’d told Jacob a great many stories about and only a few months ago shown him photographs of his friends there.
But there was something not right about the children in the photographs, something peculiar and maybe dangerous.
Jacob is disappointed to find the big old house which was the orphanage is in ruins – but have the children gone or died? Or where they still here on the island?
I’ve seen this book shelved under Childrens Crime and Thriller, Horror and Paranormal but for me although all those things do play their part – this is also very much a fantasy book. However it’s nothing like I’ve read before.
The ideas and storyline in the book are quite unique and so even though I’ve read a lot of fantasy and dipped my toe into horror and thrillers – I never knew quite what Riggs was going to come up with next. What the next chapter would bring and I certainly couldn’t second guess the answers to the questions that I had.
At the beginning of the book – particularly when Jacob begins to consider leaving for Wales – I was starting to think, this is not believable. There’s no way any parent of a sixteen year old is Jacob’s state would let them go half way across the world on some crazy mission. This book does after all appeal to an adult audience – so there is more work to be done than a parent magically agreed. Luckily Riggs does an excellent job of ironing these issues out.
I really was expecting some sort of big reveal; like “TADA!” you’re on the island and all is explained. No. Not at all. Everything is kept very mysterious. You’re spoon fed information so delicately that you’re kept in the dark, in suspense for 95% of the book. It’s only when you get to the end that all those tidbits fall into place.
Character development is quite slow but I hardly noticed the lack of it to be honest, I was so caught up in the storyline, mystery and descriptions.
I honestly did not want the book to end – I wanted to know more, see what happens next and just have more to read. As I understand there will be a second book – the speculated release is sometime next year and so in a way, I can now see why there was little character development – it’s a fantastic story on it’s own, but you definitely get the feeling that this is only the beginning. I would think more character development will come with the sequel now that all the foundations are in place.
I for one will be buying the second book. I loved this one. I’d recommend it to anyone. You definitely get a lot more than you bargain for as the synopsis doesn’t do it justice – it doesn’t even tell you 1% of what’s going on in this book. There’s definitely more than meets the eye here.