Date Published: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre: Books, Fantasy, Paranormal
A New York Times #1 best sellerIncludes an excerpt from the much-anticipated sequel and an interview with author Ransom Riggs
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.
This book has been sitting in my shelf for two years now. If it weren't for the news that an upcoming movie adaptation was made by Tim Burton, I wouldn't have read it any sooner. Now that I did, I find it just okay. I will read the next book not because I love it but because I’m just curious of the story.
What I notice the most was the use of the word children for the title. The main protagonist, Jacob, is already 16 years of age. Most of the peculiar kids are also around his age. I'd prefer to use the word kid to describe teenagers. I think it would suffice to use the word children for people aged 13 and below. With the usage of the word, it was really hard to imagine that the characters in the story in my perspective to be mature people. They all feel like they have the mindset of children (by that, I meant 13 years and below). I can't help but compare where I was around that age although the things that the characters encounter are far more than what an adult could face. It's for this reason that I have such clashing visual in my head.
Jacob is not the kind of male lead character that I'd fall for, nor is his love interest, Emma. Where Jacob to begin with was fragile, Emma was tough;but then deep inside they're quite the opposite. Just imagine how their characters would develop. I should have had a standing ovation with what Jacob was capable of doing later but he already had such a frail disposition in my head, and with such a complicated romantic situation, I would prefer his grandfather in his youth.
Everything I wrote above might not make sense but they will if you read the book.
When it comes to the level of creepiness, you don't have to imagine if you're a fan on Tim Burton's Caroline and Nightmare Before Christmas. What's subtle to see is the limitation of the setting. The theme is dark with such vivid imagery but if you look closely, the characters really don't go far from one setting just like for the two animated films aforementioned. They're all stuck in one place, but because of the bizarreness of the setting, you'd think there are so much to see.
Overall, I am reminded of the premise of this story with the manga/anime, Gakuen Alice (Alice Academy) where you have a bunch of kids holed up in one area for their own security. You have Emma here whereas in Alice Academy you have Natsume with the ability to control fire. You also have Enoch that is comparable to another character who could give temporary life to the deceased. There's time travel, an organization of, let's say, magic-users-or-their-own-kind-of-people-turned-bad who wanted to rule the world, a peculiar child who could float, a child who could raise plants in no time, a child who's invisible, and a whole lot more.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is like a freakier version (did I mention creepy?) of Gakuen Alice. So if you love Gakuen Alice, this book sure won't disappoint, but if you want something very creepy, it is pretty much disappointing.