Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Genre: fiction with elements of the magical, but not so very sci-fi/fantasy
Length: 349 pages
Source: personal collection (a birthday present from my friend, Kirsta)
Resolutions/Challenges: Readers Imbibing in Peril (RIP) VI Challenge, hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.
Reason for Reading: While searching for books to read for the RIP Challenge, I realized this would be a good one. Plus, I’d seen it on the new release shelf at the bookstore and it look eery, so the RIP Challenge really only gave me the excuse/reason to read it 🙂
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography,Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
My Thoughts: For a short while, I was afraid I would not like this book. I was loving it, but when I had read about a third, something happened that immediately changed my mind. I was worried that I would end up disliking the last two-thirds–but I ended up being wrong. It won’t really give anything away to say that that thing which turned my head had to do with “time travel”. When I found out that this was an element to the story, I immediately thought the story was ruined. The story was getting creepy and then that twist came–I was unhappy.
It turned out that the “time travel” element didn’t bother me so much. It became quite important to the story. And while I thought it would make the story a bit more haunting if there wasn’t such a clear “portal” back and forth. If just arriving at the old home made the time change, or opening a door or something that changed a little every time were the catalyst, I would’ve liked it a bit more. And I liked how the two worlds in the two times were important to the story. Interestingly enough, the time set in the past was special–it was one day, on a loop. For some of those living in the “then”, they led a Groundhog Day-esque life, while most didn’t know they were one a loop.
There are some very haunting photographs throughout the book. And while I know they may be altered and faked–or simply normal–they really affected my feelings towards the story. If I’d seen these photos randomly in a context completely separate from the story–like at an antique store or something–I wouldn’t have given most of them a second thought or found them creepy at all. I think that the photos actually sort of made the story. I mean, I think it would’ve been easier for Riggs to create a story with these photos in mind rather than to write the book and then search for photos that would work with it.
I think that this was a great book. It was very strange. I feel that the ending was open-ended, but I don’t know if there will be (or should be) a sequel. I sort of hope there won’t. Because if there is, I might feel obligated to read it and then the magic of this book would be lost.