Thursday, May 19, 2011
MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs
I received an advance copy of this book through the Amazon Vine Program.
MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN offers a unique premise in that it combines a story with vintage photographs to present a tale that is both whimsical and chilling. I loved the idea of this book. 16-year-old Jacob grows up listening to the tales of his grandfather's childhood in an orphanage filled with children with unusual powers and evil monsters lurking in the shadows. As Jacob grows older, he begins to doubt the veracity of his grandfather's tales believing that they grew out of his grandfather's struggles under the Nazi regime. When Jacob's grandfather is killed under mysterious circumstances, Jacob decides to investigate his grandfather's past by going to the orphanage where he grew up. Once there, Jacob discovers that the people...and monsters...might be real after all.
The vintage images in this book are haunting and set the tone perfectly. The mystery is creative if a bit inscrutable. I loved Jacob's search for the truth but the explanations were fuzzy and the bad guys a bit over the top. I was a little disappointed that the book wasn't MORE whimsical. It seemed to get a bit too caught up in its structural device without working more on character development. I wish the author had developed the story a bit more. I would have given it a higher rating. Still, it has a lot of mystery, action and suspense. I am divided on whether I will continue to reading the series. However, I would still recommend this book to most young adult readers looking for something unusual and different to read. It's worth it for the photos alone.
**PARENTAL ADVISORY (with spoilers)**
The creatures in this book are truly creepy and they commit murder. A lot. Jacob's grandfather is ripped apart, beloved teachers are threatened and the peculiars (often children) are in constant threat of being murdered and consumed. This is not a book for younger readers. The book is quite creepy.
**END OF PARENTAL ADVISORY**
BOTTOM LINE: Recommended with reservations. I really wanted to like this book. And I did but it didn't quite fulfill its promise for me. Something was missing that I can't quite put my finger on. The author needs to spend a bit more time on character development and less on "gimmick." Still, it is an unusual and clever book that begins a promising series.