Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children Book Review

Let's get one thing straight: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is one pretty book. Everyone involved in this project obviously cared a great deal about the final product. I loved the presentation, from the intricate design of the chapter pages to the layout of the photographs. This book made me jealous. While my book is floating out there in e-land, this book has a nice solid home and a huge budget to fluff it up. 

Not like it needs any fluffing, really. Ransom Riggs (sounds like a cowboy) is a great writer. I haven't read many young adult titles (cue shocked expressions), but that may now change because of this book. I LOVED the use of vintage photographs with text. I'm surprised it hasn't been done before (not that I know of, anyway). 

Adult fiction used to be frequently illustrated and there was a reason for this. Words move you, pictures move you, the two combined can move mountains. I have some antique Poe books in my collection with amazingly creepy illustrations. Without a doubt, it adds to the reader's experience, makes the chills more profound. 

That being said, there were some scary moments in Miss Peregrine's. At one point, the main character, Jacob, is exploring an old abandoned children's home and has to go down into the basement. Riggs'  description of that experience made me think he's been urban exploring. I visited a couple of abandoned insane asylums over a year ago and reading this book in that moment gave me wonderful flashbacks.

The characters in Miss Peregrine's, more specifically, the Peculiars (as they are called), are endearing, trapped in a magical but repetitive world because of their unique abilities. They did remind me of the mutants in X-Men, but that similarity didn't bother me. Riggs went his own way with it. 

My only complaints about this book, and they are small, are that (1) sometimes it felt as if the author was trying too hard to work the story around the photos. A couple of the photo/text workings seemed like a stretch. For example, the picture of the woman and child in the tunnel. The tunnel clearly has water on the floor and no tracks, but it was, according to the story, a sometimes-used portion of the London Underground. Clearly, it's a storm drain of sorts. 

And (2) the ending, which I did enjoy overall, started out feeling a bit like an episode of The Little Rascals or enter any early-to-mid-1900s-era sitcom involving a zany group of children. "Okay, let's go get em!" "Shake the staircase and make him fall. Whoa!" "Great job, gang!"

Although it has horrific elements, it is not a horror book, but I thought the "creepy children" factor made it worthy of a DTW blog review. Last page turned, I loved this book and give it four out of five stars. 


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