A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of 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 bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s 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.
Though well-written, I didn’t find this story as enjoyable as everyone claimed. I got swept up in the hype surrounding the release of the movie adaptation, which made me want to sample this new franchise myself.
I began with the movie. I liked the previews, especially Miss Peregrine’s costume, so one Sunday I bought a ticket and attended the movie. It was good at first, but slowly I became uninterested in the show. I began tuning out and daydreaming and eventually started to nod off. It was a bore. I didn’t find the characters or their abilities compelling and the villain was such a caricature that I often laughed at his antics. I left the theatre hoping the book would be better, as I’d already bought it.
But when I started reading it, my reaction was the same as with the movie, I slowly began to lose interest. I didn’t like the protagonist, Jacob, and wasn’t much amazed by the other characters, the setting, or the story. I know Riggs developed the story around the old photos he found and included in the book, but sometimes it seemed that certain sections were written just to lead to a photo and not to progress the plot.
As I read the book, I became frustrated with the movie because they switched Emma’s ability, making her able to manipulate air rather than fire. Sure, the air ability helps with romantic scenes in the movie, but fire could have worked as well. I find that Emma in the book has more passion than the one in the movie, and it’s not because of her fire ability. The one in the book just seems more strong willed. In both the book and the movie Jacob is the same. He goes with the flow and harshly judges everyone around him, especially his parents, without trying to do better himself.
Actually, I didn’t like how judgemental Jacob is of his parents in the book because he’s not much better. He isn’t even very considerate toward his father. And his father seriously needs to grow some balls and man up. He needs a good shake, something to liven him up so he runs headlong into his bird book project and complete it.
I also wasn’t impressed by the villain in the book. Actually, I didn’t think much of him. I think it was after the chase scene with the hollow that I decided to give up on the book. I think that was just a few pages from the end but I just didn’t care anymore.
Overall: ★★☆☆☆ 1/2
As I said before, the book is well-written but I didn’t like it. It just lacked that spark that makes a story engaging.