Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1
Release Date: June 7th 2011
A 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
When Jacob was a child he loved listening to his grandfather’s wild stories; about boys who were invisible, girls who could levitate, and children who had the strength to lift boulders over their heads. Stories about the adventures he went on and the monsters he faced and killed. But as Jacob grows older he starts seeing the wild tales of peculiar children and monsters as fairy tales told by an old man who was forced to live through the horrors of World Ward II as a Jewish child.
Then, one day, his grandfather is murdered and Jacob finds himself face-to-face with one of the monsters from his grandfather’s stories.
As he faces not only the death of his grandfather but the reality that maybe the monsters weren’t such wild stories in the first place Jacob becomes unhinged. He suffers from night terrors and such fear of the monsters coming after him that his parents have no choice but to send him to a psychiatrist. Then he finds a letter in a book that leads him to Cairnholm, a small island in Wales where his grandfather spend his childhood and the place where the tales of the peculiar children originated from.
When Jacob arrives in Cairnholm however the orphanage he hoped to find, and the mysterious Miss Peregrine who wrote to his grandfather, is nothing more than a wreckage destroyed in the bombings of the Second World War. He’s lost all hope, there’s nothing in Wales that can offer him any peace of mind concerning his grandfather’s death.
Until he sees with his own eyes the children he’s only ever seen in his grandfather’s photos, until he follows them through a time loop and finds himself back in the year 1940 where Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children are still alive.
Jacob loves his grandfather, and loves his stories as well. After he dies there is a lot Jacob needs to discover about Abraham Portman’s life, and travelling to Wales seems to paint the older man in a much different light. Still Jacob remains determined to uncover the truth, and it’s only when he gets to Wales that he feels like he’s making steps in his recovery. Granted he has his moments of doubt when things seem to be working against him but he keeps moving forwards, trying to do what’s best to live up to what people see him as; a protector.
There wasn’t much of a family dynamic between Jacob and his parents. They didn’t understand each other and, although it’s obvious his parents care about him there is a void between the two of them. Jacob had a much closer relationship with his grandfather. Even when he thought the stories nothing more than fairytales he seems to see his grandfather as a hero, it’s why he is determined to uncover the truth about Abraham’s past.
What I enjoyed the most about this book was being introduced to all the peculiar children; Emma who can create fire in her hands, Olive who is lighter than air and can levitate, Millard who is always invisible and spends his time spying on the townspeople stuck in the time loop with the peculiars. Enoch who can bring creatures and humans back to life and Bronwyn who is has an incredible strength. All of them were wonderful to meet, they had such different personalities and such different powers so it was great to get the know them and the full extent of their peculiarities.
Despite being trapped in a time loop for eighty odd years they are still very much children. They play, laugh, attend their lessons, and crave any information Jacob can bring them from the future. As someone new in their lives of the same day lived over and over again they seem immediately awe-struck by him.
The small island in Wales where the orphanage stands is written in two very different ways. In the present day it is portrayed as dull and dreary; there are storms nearly every day and the island seems stuck in the dark ages with only one phone and no electricity after ten pm. There the orphanage is nothing more than the wreckage that was left after the bombs hit. However in 1940 the sun is always shinning, the orphanage is standing and it’s where Jacob can find all the answers he seeks about, not only his grandfather, but himself. The two feel like separate worlds and even without seeing the differences between 1940 and the present day it’s easy to tell what time Jacob is in throughout the novel. The world is dark; there are monsters around every corner but the small pocket of time Miss Peregrine has created is safe, a haven for the peculiar children she protects.
I did enjoy this book but felt it started off a little slow. The majority of this first book was more about Jacob’s discovery of the peculiars and his part in their lives; don’t get me wrong it was interesting to read but it felt like the plot was thrown into the last third of the story with little space to develop properly.
What did you think of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.