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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children / Ransom Riggs / 352 pgs / Young adult fiction, dark fantasy

Now, we all know this book, correct? Well, here goes nothing.

Growing up Jacob’s grandfather told him tales of slaying beasts and growing up in a home where children could float in the air and others be unseen, but as Jacob grew older he believed them less and less. After a family tragedy, Jacob is forced to face the facts surrounding the tragedy, and travels to a small island in Wales to find answers. After arriving Jacob is not only faced with the ruins of the children’s home his grandfather grew up in, but faced with even more questions. Where are all the children? And will Jacob be able to find all the answers he needs, or will he have to live the rest of his life in regret with no answers.


Quick Summary

LANGUAGE: not very strong, but consistent, a little more than was comfortable for me.

VIOLENCE: quite gory in a couple of descriptions, and rather dark

QUALITY: excellent character development and an engaging vocabulary; the photos were also a wonderful addition and added to the plot perfectly

OVERALL RATING: I would say that this is a good read, but not a book to just sit down and relax with. I really did enjoy the book and I will finish the series; however, it had just a little too much language and just a little bit too dark, that’s why I’m not going crazy about it and giving it a “must read” flag, but definitely enjoyable.


Where do I begin… This is actually a pretty fascinating story. The really funny thing is, after reading this book, I can only use one word to describe it perfectly: peculiar. I’m not even trying to be funny. It really is just that. Strange isn’t the right word, because I’ve read strange books before; this though, this was something entirely different. I’m a strong believer in the saying “there’s nothing new under the sun.” However, this really did feel quite new.

LANGUAGE

To start this off, I will explain again that there is quite a bit of British “language” in here, just like in The Maze Runner. There is a strange configuration of American language and British language, which makes sense because the main character Jacob is from America, but visits Wales. There is never the use of the “F” word, but technically, uses of the word “bugger” or some form of that word, which is technically the same thing in the British language. Now, to speak for someone like me, the language was just a little too frequent. Yes, they weren’t strong, but many of the characters spoke so crudely and just spoke that way for the heck of it, so it bothered me. However, the language isn’t really that bad.

VIOLENCE

I haven’t read enough violent books to determine what should be considered as graphic violence, but I would probably say this book can be pretty graphic. There are only two extremely violent parts in the book, and technically, you come into them after the attack, not during. However, the descriptions are quite horrifying and gruesome, as well as the descriptions of the creatures known as hollows. Despite these few disturbing scenes, there really isn’t that much violence, which leads me to a different kind of violence.

Now, what I’m about to describe might not really be considered violence, but it can be considered in the same category, therefore, I will keep it here. The book had a very… intense feel about it. To be honest, I never actually read the back of the book, so I went into the book with the only knowledge I got from the trailer. The sentence at the end of the description however gives you an answer to what I mean by intense: “They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason.” These children, for lack of a better word, are disturbed. Now, I don’t want to get into too much detail without giving too much away, but these children are actually older than they appear, so I guess that should be taken into consideration. However, there is a limit to how crazy a person can be. One in particular is the character Enoch. His ability is unique to say the least, but very creepy. He as the ability to literally take someones heart and give it to another. This doesn’t sound too terrible, but Enoch would collect rat hearts and put them into clay dolls, playing with them and having them fight each other. There is also another disturbing instance, which concerns Enoch, concerning a boy named Victor.

Now, I am revealing spoilers here, but in case some of you would rather know now than later, I will tell you the circumstances.

Victor is dead, but because of a certain time loop, he is stuck here forever without decaying. Victor’s sister would convince Enoch to put cow or sheep hearts in Victor to wake him up and talk to him. This was of course temporary, and therefore they repeated the process every now and then. Now, sure, maybe this sounds sweet of Enoch, but honestly, it’s quite sick. Enoch seemed to enjoy the power of holding life on his hands, temporary as it was. He seemed to taunt the sister and enjoyed watching her struggle with her brother’s death. I will say this, Enoch is not as prominent as most of the children, so you do not have to suffer his presence too much. He does become quite active near the end, but it’s really just the scenes with Victor that are truly disturbing.

I will say that this book is probably not good for children. It’s deep, it’s dark, and theres a lot that would probably just go over their heads. (When I say kids I’m referring to anyone under the age 12, but I’m an old fashioned kind of girl, I believe there is no point in exposing this to kids if they won’t understand it and find he creepy, best to wait till you can appreciate it). So in the end, the violence isn’t really that consistent, but with the detailed description of wounds, creatures, and the strange habits of these children, it can be quite disturbing (sorry I keep using this word, but I really can’t think of another word, horrifying?)

QUALITY

I will be brief, but this was actually kind of fun. The writing was like nothing I have ever read before. Very old fashioned, but nothing like reading the classics. Riggs had a strange way of describing the most basic of movements or emotions. It isn’t unpleasant, it’s actually rather fascinating.

As for character development, it was quite fantastic. You liked the characters (except maybe Enoch…). One strange thing is that the book spent about 90% of the time on character development. Many of the terrible things didn’t happened till about the last two or three chapters. After hearing that and looking at the book you would think “Gee, that’s boring,” but it goes surprisingly fast. You spend so much time with the kids, trying to understand them and learn about them, for everything is shrouded in mystery, and you are slowly given the answers.

One amazing aspect to this book I absolutely loves is the pictures. If I did not miscount, there are fifty-two pictures in the book, and not a single one went unexplained. It brought so much to the story, and help you picture the characters, as well as understand where Jacob was coming from in the beginning. Riggs collected the pictures over the years, and explains that every single one of them is authentic, except for a little post-processing. It explains that the pictures are what started the book, and that they were his inspiration. Seeing so many pictures of children, he wanted to give them a story. This gave so much to the story, and I believe it wouldn’t be Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children without them.

In the end, I would say that this is a good book to read. It’s deep, it’s dark, it’s peculiar, so make sure you set aside some time to read it properly. Enjoy.