Review by CJ
353 [excluding credits, acknowledgments, a conversation with Ransom Riggs and a preview of Hollow City]
When Jakob’s grandfather is killed under horrific circumstances, Jakob travels to the children’s home his grandfather spent time in as a child hoping that the trip will enlighten him on his grandfather’s past. Jakob discovers that the fantastic stories his grandfather told him were not only real but now lead him to a renewed purpose in his own life.
With the impending film release, I powered through reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in just a few days. What I discovered in those few days was a book filled with mystery, fantasy and a beautifully built world inhabited by rich characters.
While the protagonist, Jake, is at his heart a stubborn teenage boy with attitude (and probably anger management issues), he remains a likeable character who I found myself actively rooting for. Jake manages to evolve through the course of the novel fluidly from an awkward loner to a brave defender.
I loved each and every one of Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children, even the ones that were utterly creepy and loathsome upon introduction (Enoch, I am looking at you). Each peculiarity is only a small part of the character and in nearly all cases they compliment their personalities well.
Miss Peregrine is a delightful character. She is equal parts sympathetic mother figure and the strict headmistress her title demands. Her love of her students and the ferocity with which she will defend them from threats, both innocent and evil, is never called into question. The development and reveal of Miss Peregrine was wonderful to read.
The photographs throughout Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children serve not only to give readers visual cues to what they are reading, but they also give the book an ethereal feel that enhances the experience of the novel. In the photography credits, Riggs mentions that the photographs are all vintage photos that have been mostly unaltered. They work astoundingly well to give the novel a greater depth without delving into picture book territory.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It is both original and beautiful with elements of fantasy, tragedy, horror, mystery and romance. While this combination of elements could easily have become a mish-mashed monstrosity, Riggs manages to weave these genres together into a well told tale.
I highly recommend Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children as a story for all ages that adds a dash of whimsy and delight to a wonder-filled fantasy tale.