I finished this book about half a hour ago and I have got to write this review. This book has being on my TBR list for a while now, the cover is completely creepy and cool and although I don’t normally do creepy, lately I have being drawn to books that have that edge. This review will have some spoilers! Summary from Goodreads :
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. Fiction is based on real black and white photographs. The death of grandfather Abe sends 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, and explores abandoned bedrooms and hallways. The children may still live.’
The book starts with the gruesome murder of the main character, Jacob’s grandfather. Jacob’s grandfather has told him fantastical stories for years and years, about monsters and his mysterious and magical friends back in the home he lived in during WWII. Jacob, now 16, doesn’t believe him but when he sees his grandfather killed by what looks like a monster, he starts to think there might be more to his grandads stories. However, his parents and friends think he’s crazy and Jacob is sent to a doctor and diagnosed with stress.
But, whilst sorting out his grandad’s stuff, he finds a letter from the curious Miss Peregrine and becomes determined to visit the island off Wales where his grandad grew up. When he gets there, all he finds is a abandoned, run down and seldom visited orphanage, hit by german bombers over sixty years previously. But as Jacob explores the island some more, he finds out that things are not what they seem at the orphanage.
A girl who can create fire in the palm of her hand, an invisable boy and of course Miss Peregrine. All living in a time loop, September 4th 1943, again and again and again. As Jacob learns more about the group of children stuck in the past and unable to grow up and falls for the girl his grandfather used to love, he is yet to realise the imminent danger he and the other children are in.
Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children starts with a bang. The death of Jacobs grandad is both scary and shocking, and a excellent opener to the novel. Ransom Riggs is a great writer and he draws the reader in expertly. However, after the opening, nothing much really happens for a while. Jacob struggles to cope with his Grandads death, and visits his doctor but nothing else really. It’s very slow burning, and I really enjoy fast paced novels, so it took me a while to get into it.
Once we get to the island, things start to pick up. I loved Jacobs first foray into the abandoned house. It was scary and exciting and I had to read it in daylight! Then of course, we meet the children. Emma, the fiesty girl who can make fire appear on her hands and Millard, the sarcastic invisible boy were too of my favourites. And of course, Miss Peregrine, who was formidable and everything I imagined a headteacher of that era to be. I can definitley see the comparisions to X men, and also Peter Pan (never growing up) but I love the concept of time-travel and I cannot wait for Riggs to explore that more in the next book.
The characters were developed nicely. I liked Jacobs relationship with his dad, it reminded me of that wierd distant but still close and overprotective time whern your sixteen and hate and love your parents at the same time. I have to admit, I was slightly creeped out with Emma’s and Jacob’s relationship. First of all, she is an eighty year old that looks like a teenager and second of all kissing someone your grandad has kissed is just weird.
I was disppointed with the whole pictures in the book. I think it was an interesting concept, but for me it didn’t add anything to the book and sometimes I felt it disrupted the flow in the story. I also feel that although there were scary moments, the book itself wasn’t that scary and I think many horror fans might be left a little miffed, because the cover looks terrifying!
However, although the idea wasn’t wholly original and the obvious sequel cliff-hanger at the end, I really enjoyed this book. It was a quirky, unpolished gem of a story and I will be picking up the next book when it’s released.