“I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.”
– Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
(This review might contain spoilers.)
I finally got around to ticking off stuff on my 2012 Book List, after so may digressions along the way. First book to get me back on track: Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Now I hadn’t flicked through any reviews or synopses prior to my reading experience so I didn’t quite know what to expect from it, really. I had, however, formed some sort of bias toward it, thinking it was a suspense/ horror book. Halfway in, I realized it wasn’t, the story geared more towards fantasy than suspense and horror, which was what I thought.
It tells the story of a boy, in this case, Jacob, who finds out about his grandfather’s past and how he comes to know of his role in the whole equation. He discovers a world he hadn’t thought existed, and goes on so many adventures with newfound friends, including battles against evil creatures. Sound familiar? Well, Miss Peregrine’s has been compared to the Harry Potter series, so go figure.
No wizardry in this book though, but the children are given a different kind of gift, if you will: peculiarity.
I must admit I was a bit bummed when I found out this book was mostly fantasy, and not horror at all. I was heavily engaged in its plot when the narrative took a suspenseful turn, and then, well, got bored when it hit the bits on fantasy.
I thought the book’s pace was all right, just a bit inconsistent, if anything. I mean, some parts will demand your attention, then once those parts are resolved, the plot goes back to being humdrum. And before you know it, you’re again taken to edge-of-your-seat parts, and then again the excitement is sucked out.
Case in point: Jacob, the narrator, struggles to make sense of his grandfather’s ways all his life, until the latter dies and Jacob is compelled to find out the truth behind his grandfather’s bizarreness. He then meets the peculiars, friends of his grandfather, who later on divulge truths about his grandfather’s past. Safe to say I got bored when the book hit this point: Jacob meeting the peculiars. I mean, so much hype had been created in the events leading to it (with so many creepy photographs to accompany the tale), only to be met with events that merit a “meh” from me.
I also didn’t like how some parts of the book were too good to be true: how Jacob’s dad lets him go just like that in the end, or how Jacob falls for his grandfather’s ex (yep, kind of twisted) somewhere along the way, or how Jacob and his crew so successfully defeated the bad guys.
Anyway, while I wasn’t so happy with the book (I’d give it a 2.5 of 5), I’m still looking forward to the next one. I don’t want to keep my hopes up though.
Side note: Word has it that Tim Burton is to direct a film adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. A perfect fit to this dark fantasy novel!