A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered inMiss 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 bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s 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.
In Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Jacob journeys to a remote island off the Welsh coast to find out about his grandfather’s past. He discovers the ruin of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and as he explores it, he not only discovers that Miss Peregrine and the children might still be alive, but also something peculiar about himself.
I absolutely loved the concept of this novel, and the very visual way the text interacts with the photos Riggs included. The plot started maybe a little slow for me, but once I really got into it the pages just flew, and the pace picked up. To me it just felt like it took ages before it got anywhere.
The prose feels like a great balance somewhere between the 21st century and the early 20th century. First person narration can be difficult, but Riggs manages to pull it off amazingly, and Jacob’s voice really drew me in, even when I was asking myself when we would finally get to the part where things start to happen.
The two things I could have done without are the relationship between Emma and Jacob, and how being peculiar seems to mean Jacob has to give up his family.
The first I just find kind of weird and a little icky, because Emma was in love with Jacob’s grandfather, Abe, and the love story between Emma and Jacob just feels like she is projecting her feelings for Abe onto Jacob. It just doesn’t feel like a good basis for a relationship, and I would have preferred if the plot stayed far away from it.
The second is based in the nature of the story, and depends on how you read it. Personally, I read it as an X-Men kind of story, and the Peculiarity of the children as something that others them from the rest of society in a metaphorical (be it as LGBTAQ*, disabled, POC or whatever else you might think of), and I’m really not a fan of the idea that just because someone is not like you and has made different experiences, means they can never understand. Empathy is still a thing that exists, and just because my experiences as a queer woman are different from those of a straight woman doesn’t mean she can’t feel for me, and that I have to shut myself away from her. So I’m still holding out hope for there to be a discussion of this further on in the trilogy.
Overall I really liked the story, and I hope I’ll be able to read the other books soon.
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 Stars)
Publication Date: 4 June 2013
Publisher: Quirk Books
Page Count: 382
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Supernatural, Historical