Friday, April 6, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
By Ransom Riggs
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, 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.
 Rating: 3 of 5 "I Liked It"

I really really liked this story. It's obviously set up for a series, so this book is all about introducing the characters and the world they live in. A couple story-points in the book were a little bit choppy, but overall the progression of the storyline and the development of the characters was engaging and exciting. But that being said, I probably won't read the rest of the series, which is why it gets a 3 instead of a 4.

This is a really good book that you can read in one day. Pick a free weekend and enjoy!

If you're up for spoilers...

I've seen a lot of poor reviews for this book, and I can see why, but most people aren't really elaborating in their reviews as to why they don't like the book or what they would have liked to see different. As a result, I've decided to expand upon my general review and give my opinion on this question:
If you were presented the concept for this book, what would you have done differently from the author?
Personally, I would have kept pretty much the entire beginning the same, leading up to the grandfather's death. The first act was what generated my interest in the story in the first place, and I liked the characters introduced. However, the beginning of the entire second act lagged on and on. It's great that Jacob mourned for his grandfather, but personally, I would have set up the character to mourn in a different way- by breaking off from his parents, confiding in the only friend he has, and running away with his pal to the UK to find out more about his grandfather.

His best friend was a complete rebel with nothing to lose, and just dumb enough to think leaving the US and going on an adventure was a good idea. I think that the author missed an ENORMOUS opportunity by splitting up the brains-brawn duo he could have had. The potential conflict he had between the best friends (them not being actually best friends, just two loners who held a basic agreement) was RIPE with entertainment value. Even if the boys fought and turned against each other at some point due to their differences in personality, they would still be the only people they knew in a foreign land, keeping them together despite.

Another thing I think the story lacked was a defined bad-guy. And when I say 'defined bad-guy' I don't even mean that it had to be one specific person. The monsters were introduced in the beginning of the story, and then they just dropped off the face of the earth for nearly the entire book, right up until the climax when the author realized "oh wait a minute, what do I do once Jacob gets the girl? Quick! Action sequence!"

As for the ending, it probably would have felt less random if different aspects of the story were set up earlier. The rules of a universe need to be established fairly close to the beginning of any story otherwise they feel like the author is just making up plot devices. What say you?

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