My Thought About Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Book Review #58)

Late one day I was searching through my piles of books looking for a book that I could read to start off my October. Since it’s almost Halloween I decided to pick something that will give me chills. I have a few horror/thriller books and I happen to saw this book. I already read this book last year when I was not yet into blogging and I decided to read it again and have my thoughts about it. The third book in the series, Library of Souls, just came out and I have yet to get my hand to it soon and that’s after I finished reading the second book in this trilogy, Hollow City, which I already have a copy of.

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I can say that I enjoyed reading this book more this time than the last. This debut novel of photographer and filmmaker Ransom Riggs is very unique on its own. Riggs used old photographs and disturbing images to add eeriness to the book. The book was not only told narratively but also through odd and bizarre pictures. The vintage photos added more mystery and eeriness to the book. And I can say that he was successful in doing that.

The sudden and unusual death of his grandfather, Abe, whom he is very close to, left 16-year old Jacob Portman with a lot of questions. He wants to convince himself that it’s all just a dream but no, the horrific murder of his grandfather was real. He saw a monster lurking near his grandfather’s body when the murder happened. Nobody would like to believe him and he was even referred to a psychiatrist. Jacob then found himself with his Dad following the trail of his grandfather’s last words and letter, with the encouragement of the psychiatrist to have some time off, in an island in Wales seeking answers to his questions. Little did he know that doing what he was told to do is just a niche to what he is about to discover. He discovered a dark family secret, a destiny he believes he should fulfill and also a place where he meet Miss Peregrine, her home, and the peculiar children.

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”
― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

He come across Miss Peregrine’s Home of Peculiar Children one time when he was wandering around the island. He found this abandoned and crumbling ruin at the center of the forest. He stepped inside and found himself in a place many years back. He learned that that world he stumbled upon only moves on a repeated day, September 3, 1940, a time loop. It’s a place where children can fly, carry big loads, control plants and produce fire among others. Those are just few of the attributes of the children that he meet. Those are also the children that he already saw before by the photos that were introduced to him by his grandfather long before he died, telling Jacob that those were his playmates, but he didn’t believe. He learned that the children has been living there for decades now and they never aged because of the time loop. Jacob’s grandfather, Abe, was a Jewish refugee from the Nazis, who lived there before enlisting, and the mysteries surrounding his life and death lead Jacob back to that institution.

It all went well the first times Jacob went visiting. He enjoyed time traveling and the history lessons the headmistress, Miss Peregrine, who can turn into a bird, taught her. He also learned more about his grandfather’s past and why the children are hiding. They are being hunted by a race of monsters. But a sudden danger came and they were forced out of hiding and Jacob decided to help them because of a special power that he didn’t know he possess despite that fear that monsters will come and attack him too like what happened to his grandfather. It may seem like I am already giving too much but no, there are still a lot of things and twists that happened in between the book and at the end that did shock me.

“When someone won’t let you in, eventually you stop knocking.”
― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I have to commend the author as well for his competent world-building and exhilarating story line. I learned that the author is a film school graduate which I believe became very useful for him in transforming visualization to language. The book is full of vivid details and descriptions of the people, places and the creatures that make up the whole of this book. He writes believably and with quirkiness. His marriage of reality and fantasy is so surreal. It works well with the imagination.

The story line is a bit complex but the author was able make the details simple so as to not make the plot confusing. The plot is so immersing and creative. I love the twists that he added specially at the ending that blocked of a predictable ending. The ending was superbly done and I like how Riggs made it so dramatic and abrupt giving way to the sequel.

I also like how the author made the characters grow on their own accord. Jacob especially, from being a weak and ordinary teenager to a strong-willed and determined friend. All the other characters are also unique in their own ways. The author created a bunch of misfits and made their characters works as one. I like how creative he was in thinking what peculiar abilities to put on each character that also is reflective of their own traits. There’s also a little bit of romance in the book between the major character and one of the peculiar children. Their love story though did not take over the whole of the book. The author was able to balance it out with all the other non-romantic relationships in the book.

“We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing in them becomes too high.”
― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Aside from the unusual friendship that became the theme of the book, this book is also about the risks of the decisions that we make in life and how we should live and learn lessons with it. And that the world is wide and more than how we expect it to be. This is for everyone with curious minds who’s willing to embark on an out of this world journey. I felt like the author was trying to show that there’s a lot going on in the world that you aren’t aware of and there’s so much left to discover. I recommend the book to fans of the Harry Potter series, Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time.

And yes, Fox has already released a teaser trailer for its upcoming feature of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children! The film is being directed by Tim Burton (yasssss!) and stars Asa Butterfield, Eva Green, Ella Purnell, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Judi Dench, Chris O’Dowd, and Rupert Everett among others. Filming began in May and is set to be released March of 2016. Exciting!

5 stars out of 5.

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BOOK SPECIFICATIONS:

Author: Ransom Riggs
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Part of a Series: Yes (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1)
Release Year: June 2011
Publisher: Quirk
No. of Pages: 352

About the Author

ransom-riggsI grew up in Florida, went to Kenyon College in Ohio, then film school at USC in LA, where I still live. I write books and screenplays, blog daily for mentalfloss.com, and make short films.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is my first novel. I’m really excited about it — it was challenging and rewarding and I hope people like it. If you read that and like the found photographs in it, you might be interested in a book comprised entirely of found photographs that I have coming out January 2012 from HarperCollins. It’s called Talking Pictures. You can find sneak peeks by doing a search for “mental floss talking pictures” (I included a number of images in blogs there) and I made a kinda-sorta book trailer for it, which is on my youtube page: youtube.com/ransriggs.

Also, watch out for a Miss Peregrine book trailer, which I’m working on right now! I get to go to Belgium and film inside creepy abandoned chateaus, which I’m *really* looking forward to. (About the Author text courtesy of Goodreads)

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3 thoughts on “My Thought About Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Book Review #58)

  1. Wow, they definitely got some big names on board for the film! I have a feeling the film might be a lot more interesting than the book was (to me, at least)

    I kind of had a different view of the book. I really liked it initially, but once I thought about it for a while, my ‘like’ cooled off substantially, to the point I’ve got no interest in picking up the second book. My review is here if you’re interested.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah. I am also very excited to watch the movie. I am also hoping that the movie is good.
    Great review! You have some points there. By the way, I just reviewed the book’s graphic novel adaptation and I enjooooyed it! I just posted it on my blog. 🙂

    Like

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