Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

After witnessing the mysterious death of his grandfather, sixteen-year-old Jacob travels to a tiny Welsh island to discover the truth about the strange letters and photographs his grandfather left for him. There he discovers the old house, home to some very peculiar children who need his help, leading him on a terrifying adventure that will test him beyond anything he has experienced before.

Well it has to be said that this book isn't particularly well-written. It is a YA novel but I have very high standards as I know that writing for children and teens is no excuse to cut corners! The main character, Jacob, is a bit annoying; even before anything bad happens to him, he seems to do nothing but sulk and complain about how much he hates being rich and privileged. The narrative style is very stilted and I found my eyes drifting off the page sometimes because of how repetitive the sentences were.

However, the story itself was quite enjoyable. It was a bit slow leading up to the discovery of the old house, but after that it became fast-paced and exciting and I was eager to find out what would happen next. The best part about this book is that all the photographs scattered throughout the story are real and mostly unedited, and it seems like the author picked out some intriguing ones and pieced the story around it, which is a really nice idea. The characters and abilities of the peculiar children are great, even if their dialects sometimes seem a bit too much like an American person trying to sound quirky and British, which is a massive pet hate of mine!

The ending was very abrupt, and left them heading off in a boat to try and find somewhere else to live...which led me to think the author is probably planning to write a sequel. I don't like it much when it's this obvious, it feels like I'm not 'getting my money's worth' so to speak, if I have to read a whole other book before I find out how the story really ended!

The book is great to look at, with thick paper, wallpaper print on the chapter pages and of course the wonderfully unsettling photographs. So nice that I avoided reading it in the bath like I do with most books, as it inevitably makes the pages wavy.

All in all, this was an enjoyable novel but I never felt as invested in it as I do with most of the books I read. I think I'm definitely more into realistic stories that I can relate to. However, I will be passing this onto John as I think this sort of thing would be right up his street...monsters, time travel, etc etc!

 I think this would translate well into a film and will probably end up being made by Tim Burton with lots of black and white stripy things and Helena Bonham-Carter playing the role of Miss Peregrine, which will surprise absolutely no one.

6/10 - Not my usual cup of tea, but a fun read nonetheless!

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