Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

peregrinesAbout Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

• Hardcover: 352 pages
• Audio: 9 hours
• Published: June 2011 by Quirk
• Source: Purchased (Scribd Audiobooks)

Goodreads DescriptionA mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

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

Another that’d been on my TBR list for ages, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a mystery-slash-fantasy story about a boy who discovers his grandfather was part of a rare group of people who possess magical powers.

Growing up, Jacob’s grandfather Abe told him stories of the orphanage where he grew up, and the kids he called his family. The stories were fantastic – children who could lift impossibly heavy boulders or levitate, who had bees living inside them or mouths in the back of their heads, or who were invisible or could create fire with their bare hands. As a child, Jacob thought these stories were nothing but an old man’s fairy tales, a way to remember the horrors of being a Jew in WWII. Metaphors, if you will.

As it turns out, Abe’s stories were real.

I really enjoyed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I didn’t really know what to expect when I started listening – I just knew it’d been something I wanted to read for ages, and Scribd had it as a Scribd Select (meaning it was free to listen). I’d just abandoned two audios for lack of interest, and wanted something easy and fun. Plus, it’d been on my list.

I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed this quite so much had I read it rather than listened to it. Jesse Bernstein is a great narrator, having done the Percy Jackson series and several others. He managed to convey 16-year-old Jacob in a way that wasn’t irritating, but also didn’t portray him as older than he was.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children reminded me in a way of the X-Men stories – mutant children, though they aren’t called mutants, trying to live in a world that persecutes them. What sets Miss Peregrine apart though, is the added time element – without giving too much away, the Peculiars are essentially stuck in time. When Jacob encounters them, his entire worldview is turned upside down, and he begins to see his grandfather in a whole new light.

I did have a couple minor complaints though; I didn’t think things were ever really explained well. For example, there are Hollowgasts and Wights, who are both bad guys, but I’m still not sure what they are or why they’re after Peculiars. And speaking of Peculiars, I have some questions – how do they become Peculiar? Are they born that way? What happens if all the Ymbrynes die? And about a million questions about the loop and everything associated with it, but I’ll keep those to myself because spoilers. Some of those details might have been things I missed because I was listening and my mind wandered, or they might have actually been missing. I wanted to KNOW these things though, and not knowing got a little distracting. In fact, it’s the reason this book only gets 3 stars.

I was pleasantly surprised by this one – I only wish I’d read it sooner!

 

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