“Good citizens, I give you Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children!”
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 desert island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
I really wanted to love this novel. I truly did. Not only because of the hype it was getting from the YA community but because of the fact that Ransom Riggs and fellow YA author Tahereh Mafi (author of the Shatter Me trilogy) are married and are basically the real life OTP. And as an outside party, Riggs seems like a pretty cool guy.
That being said, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was not at all what I expected. The synopsis above is totally misleading and is only ten percent accurate to the story. I was expecting a haunting tale with gore and disturbing images that would keep me up for days—I was disappointed.
The novel itself has eleven chapters and a prologue, and for the first five of those chapters, I sat with my hand holding up my chin, waiting . . . and waiting. When something finally happened, it was just a taste, a small bit to keep me from wandering too far. And then we were back to the waiting for another four chapters (doesn’t seem like much, but keep in mind there’s only eleven chapters!), but in the novel’s last hundred pages or so, the pace picked up and I was greeted by a beautifully frightening creature that I wish had more appearances in the story.
As for Jacob, the main character and narrator, I found him rather bland. Like vanilla ice cream—sweet from time to time but after a while it makes you gag. Fairly misguided and not entirely relatable, traits you’d expect to find in side characters. Speaking of, Riggs’ characters Emma and Millard loosely held my attention due to their easy dialogue and somewhat amusing interactions. But only loosely. I kept reading for the gruesome creatures known as the Hollows. Those love-to-hate fiends were interesting!
Riggs’ use of vintage photos throughout the novel was a nice touch but I feel like he could’ve built so much more on them than what he did. Opportunity missed and passed. However, I found the concept of the novel very intricate and unique—if only it was executed a tad differently, more eerie Hollows, a creepier vibe to the children, something to give me goosebumps.
And yet, at the end of the day, I know I’ll be picking up the sequel Hollow City. Not so much for the characters or the adventure, but for the monsters and in the hopes that Riggs will dive into the spooky, flinch worthy tales that YA horror is based from.
– Reviewed by Victoria Shayne.