by 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.'
*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
This book is a few years old now and I've been aware of it all along because it's "that book with the creepy pictures." Those infamous creepy pictures are also part of why I've put off reading this book until now. Not quite sure what made me change my mind and give in, but I'm glad I did. I think I'd watched a YouTube review where someone said that the story itself was creepy and fun and just really good. I decided to put this book on my Christmas list and my son Ty got it for me.
First of all, those creepy pics ARE freakin' creepy!
I was absolutely loving this book from the start. There were two parts quite early on that creeped me out so much my stomach was in knots and I had that heebie-jeebie shake-it-off type reaction. And I was loving that! It's been a long time since I've had such a strong reaction to a book. I was so excited, couldn't wait to pick up the book again each time I had to put it down, was just loving it. Then it was revealed that the creepiness wasn't really so creepy after all, that it was time travel. And I was like "NOOOOOOOOOO!" People who know me know that I *hate* all things time travel. I can't accept it and will argue and debate endlessly about it because there are no rules. You can make up anything you want and be as inconsistent as you want because there are no 'rules,' and I hate that. Yes, I'm weird. I need rules and boundaries and structure, even in fantasy.
There was a dip in my enthusiasm when I got to that point in the book. I think I let it sit for a day because I was so bummed. But curiosity got the best of me and I eventually went back to reading. I was pleased to find the story was still quite interesting. Although I still consider it time travel, I guess technically it's just a loop they're stuck in. Still, that was interesting. They're reliving the same day over and over, and not aging as long as they're in this loop. Why are they in this loop? Why this particular day? What happens if they leave or stop the loop? There were plenty of interesting things to ponder, and that sucked me back into the story.
There is a sad love story in here, and a budding new love story that's related in a peculiar way.
One thing I really liked was that the plot was not overly complicated. Ok, yeah, there is a time loop, but the story is still pretty simple and uncluttered. It was very easy to read and follow the story without having to try and sort out a million side plots and characters. Even the few things that seemed unrelated, eventually do show their place in relation to what's going on. But then right towards the end the action picked up and it did start to go downhill for me. The 'bad guys' found these people and found a way to break into their loop, so of course there was a battle to defend themselves. It just started to get complicated fast at that point and I don't think it needed to. The 'monsters' seem to have more strings attached to their storyline than the whole story did overall. I don't know why the author felt the need to cram so much in right towards the end. Was he worried he wouldn't have enough story to tell in a second book?
Still, it was pretty good even through that busywork at the end. The second book just came out last week. I'm not nearly as excited about it anymore but I know I will read it. Part of me wants to wait for the paperback version, yet part of me wants to get it right now and continue while the story is fresh in my head.
I've heard there is a movie already in the works and that Tim Burton will be directing it. This seems right up his alley, but I hope he doesn't make it too weird.
Oh well, I'm glad I've finally read this book and I really did enjoy it. I would have given it five out of five stars if not for the ending. Even so, I give this a firm four out of five stars.
Have you read this book? What did you think??