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A very intriguing series of peculiar events
on May 1, 2011
To be honest, when I first started reading "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" I expected a haunting thriller, full of horror and danger. That is not what this book is. Instead, this book is fantasy/adventure combined with a very unique style of photography, which made the book better than I ever thought it would be.
Story - Jacob Portman desires an adventurous life, much like the life his grandfather describes to him in various stories. However, when Jacob realizes that he can never have an adventurous life, he just tries to be normal and fit in. He's not popular or extremely smart, and there doesn't seem to be anything unusual about him at all; but when his grandfather dies and leaves Jacob a cryptic message, Jacob is sent on a hunt to find his grandfather's past and ends up traveling all the way to Wales. Once there, Jacob discovers much more than he ever could have imagined about his grandfather and is thrown into the midst of a very peculiar situation.
Writing Style - If I had to compare Ransom Riggs to any other author, I would have to compare him to Lemony Snicket. In fact, this entire book reminded me very much of Mr. Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" books. Don't get me wrong, Riggs did not steal Lemony Snicket's writing style at all, but Riggs just simply reminded me of him, which is a positive since I pretty much love anything that Snicket touches.
Something else that I feel Riggs did superbly was explain the detail of everything in the story. Even without the occasional photographs of people and things in the story, I was able to visualize the locations and details because of the fantastic descriptions.
Now, as for the photographs, they added a whole new dimension to the story. They didn't turn the novel into a picture book or something else that we normally associate with children; rather, they added a new level of immersion to the story, with the reader being almost able to see exactly what Jacob is seeing as he looks at the many photographs scattered throughout.
The book is truly addicting, but it isn't perfect; there are a few kinks that I feel needed to be worked out. The major kink being the fact that the attitude of some of the characters just doesn't seem to match the story! The abundance of cursing and crude humor just doesn't make sense with some of the characters or the plot of the story. Also, there were a few things that weren't developed as much as possible and could have been explained more and built upon.
Warnings - Language, Mild Violence, Mild Peril
Overall - In all fairness, my last complaint was very nitpicky and small, and I don't want to give anyone the impression that this is not a good book. For a first novel, it is fantastic! There are a few things to improve on, but I think Mr. Riggs is off to an amazing start! I immensely look forward to his second novel, which I assume is in the works based on the cliffhanger at this end of the story. I would say that, most likely, teens will enjoy the book more than adults, but it really does have a very interesting plot that many will love.