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Showing 1-10 of 212 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on July 13, 2011
I wanted to like this book. The premise is really charming, and the boy Jacob is such a lovely character. I also loved the idea of a story based upon found photography. I read this book on my Kindle, and I want to say up front that I adore my Kindle. BUT, I'm not sure that this book works in the electronic format. I could not see any detail in the photographs, which was so disappointing. Also, without giving away anything, there is a note written at the very end by a key character, which I could not read as it was placed in the book as a photograph. So, that being said, my guess is that I missed a great deal from this book that might have helped me enjoy it more. I also would like to say that I found the 1st half of the book far more enjoyable than the 2nd half. Mr. Riggs seems to lose some focus toward the end, arbitrarily wrapping things up as though he's run out of things to say. Lastly, THE ENDING, which is the reason for my two star rating. I found the end so unsatisfying that I didn't even know I was at the end! I turned the page expecting more book! I realize that the current economics of the publishing world dictates that virtually every story is supposed to be one of a series of books. However, this book was such a blatant set up, and so incomplete on it's face, that I found myself a little angry at Mr. Riggs. I would love to read a book that is a complete story in itself, and not the potential for a movie deal or a sequel. Just saying....
1111 comments193 of 226 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 28, 2011
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is the literary equivalent of a blind date that looks amazing walking towards you at the restaurant, but 10 minutes in you know there's nothing going on upstairs. The story holds promise but ultimately never delivers, telling a poorly-paced story full of plot-holes. Disbelief must be suspended to its breaking point, not because of the nature of the Peculiar Children, but because of every character's nonsensical behavior.

If you're interested in the book, pick it up at your local bookstore, look at each of the photos involved, savor the lux paper, and enjoy the overall great design of the book. Then put it back down, as you've gained as much enjoyment from it as you're going to.
33 comments84 of 101 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 11, 2011
Note: This is a spoiler-free review.

Based on glowing reviews and interesting cover art, I was pretty excited to read this one. Well, almost immediately, it became painfully apparent that I was in for disappointment.

One of my biggest pet peeves with books is inconsistency of voice. The narrator of this story is all over the place in terms of tone and style and simply sounds ridiculous half the time. The author seemed hell-bent on using as many adjectives as humanly possible, but to little effect. Rather than building a captivating world for readers to fall in love with and explore, he wastes a ton of time describing things that either don't matter one bit or that I already know what they look like. Moreover, if the author wanted to include lengthy sections of florid prose, he shouldn't have used first-person narration. It made me disconnect from the narrator and felt disingenuous. No one talks like that, no one tells a story like that, and no one spends an entire paragraph describing the state of the floorboards. Beyond that, the author has incorporated numerous old photographs into the book (like the one on the cover), but then goes on to describe everything that's in the picture. If he was going to include the picture anyway, why on earth did he spend so much time describing it? The author got bogged down with the photographs. On the one hand, they ended up being the most interesting part of the book, but they felt inorganic and forced. The author continually seemed to be conjuring reasons to include the photographs, rather than using them to supplement the story.

What's worse, even though many of the things the narrator described were fantastical and bizarre, and the photos were odd and interesting in and of themselves, I still found myself completely bored. Indeed, until I was about 150 pages in, I could barely bring myself to continue. I kept hope alive that it would get better, and finally, after way too long, it began to pick up. As the novel progressed, the author finally seemed to relax and settle into the narrative itself, rather than the flowery narration. The voice of the narrator began to feel more genuine and the story itself finally found some footing. That said, it improved to the point that I finished it, but I wouldn't recommend this book. Even after if improved, I found that I hardly cared about any of the characters and wasn't very invested in their fates. In a weird way, the narrator himself was one of the least compelling characters in the book, and one that I felt I knew the least. With him being the narrator, I should have known him intimately by the end, but either I simply didn't connect with him or there wasn't much to connect to.

At the end of the day, this novel felt more like a high school writing assignment rather than a bestseller. I think the author has some potential, but he has a long way to go before he can craft a story that will warrant a second read.
66 comments73 of 88 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 19, 2011
I have had it with books that spend 300+ pages to set up the sequel while not redeeming the first edition. While the language used here was often creative, the story moved along at the rate of arctic drift. Note to Mr. Riggs: Write twice the story using the same number of words and I will buy your next book. As it is, this book was simply a long hike for a non-existent payoff.
0Comment53 of 63 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 23, 2011
I could almost point to the page where this novel turns from being a wonderfully eerie ghost story to being a messy, overplotted would-be Harry Potter adventure that manages to both overexplain and underexplain everything.

And, of course, I was very disappointed as I was running out of pages and thinking "How can this possibly be resolved?" to find that this is not a stand-alone novel but the first in a series. I do feel a bit cheated by that. More than a bit.

Also: Given the money that obviously went into the production of the book (the fine paper, the color), I thought that the layout (particularly the juxtaposition of text and photos) was dismayingly sloppy.

And am I the only reader to note the moment at which the hero has his hands tied behind his back and then, moment later, removes his shoes? Nice trick, that.

Well, I went into this with great expectations. Perhaps too great. So perhaps my disappointment is also outsized.
1414 comments77 of 95 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 26, 2011
Looks nifty, doesn't it?

It's hard to resist the eye-catching cover and quirky illustrations, but once you get a few chapters in you realize that the concept's charm pretty much stops there. In different hands this story could have been a delight, but Ransom populates the book with hollow teen-lit characters who wouldn't have seemed out of place in fluff such as "Twilight" or "I am Number Four". Though occasionally atmospheric, the plot is hurried and predictable, and the dialog is lacking in both wit and depth.
44 comments48 of 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 26, 2011
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The author's concept is good and his photos well chosen but the execution of the story lacks. I was interested in Miss Peregrine's Home because I know artists working on blogs related to the concept (illustrating a story with vintage or random photos) and I was curious to see a finished book. Riggs has definitely chosen visually striking art for his work, unfortunately the story feels half formed and the characters never come to life. As my tween reader said - "I feel like I have to keep going back and rereading to remember who is doing what and why they want to do it. I can't keep everyone straight. Maybe I just don't care." She gave up on chapter three, I kept going but ultimately agreed.
11 comment36 of 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 15, 2011
The books cover had me very intrigued and I must admit that's what drew me to the book in the first place. It started out great and I was very drawn in with the combination of pictures and story, but towards the middle, it started to fade. The story started to take a on a new track I didn't expect and not in a good way. The story became too fantastical and kind of annoying. Towards the end, I was just reading to get it over with. This is definitely a book to be put on a shelf and never touched again. Sad.
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on August 9, 2011
Starts out well, but as the pages dwindle down, you'll find yourself wondering, "How is this going to get resolved in just a few more pages?"

The answer: IT DOESN'T! This is nothing more than a set-up for a sequel. Very disappointing.
11 comment24 of 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 30, 2013
***Warning: probable spoilers ahead***

This book was a huge "almost" for me. The first half was really interesting and different, plot-wise, and it was a lot of what I expected, given the title, cover art, description, etc. But once we switched to the actual "home" for the "peculiar children," the book went downhill fast. From that moment on, it became ridiculously cliché and stereotypical. I hope I'm not too negative in this review, but it's what stood out to me as I read it.

The prologue was really interesting and from the tone and inferences, I expected it to be a creepy/supernatural-type of book. However, once the actual story got going, I remember consciously thinking "Oh...THAT'S the secret?" Huge disappointment.

I was also irritated to find out that Jacob was really snarky and had a pretty bad attitude in general (he actually tries to get fired from his family business job by being a huge pill at work). I wasn't a bit surprised to find out that he didn't have any friends; as other reviewers have said, he made himself so unpleasant, I don't know who would want to be around him. I also felt like every few pages the author tried as hard as he could to use the word "shit" and its derivatives as many times as possible in a given paragraph or page. I'm not a prude when it comes to swearing; I actually think it can add just the right amount of "umph" when tastefully executed, but that was the problem here: it wasn't tastefully done at all. Even my friends who did swear more than others at age 16 didn't swear like Sailor Jacob. There also seemed to be an abnormally high number of sexual references for a juvenile novel. I wouldn't want my kids reading and learning some of the phrases that Jacob throws around.

The pictures, on the other hand, were really cool and the switch from text to picture worked well in the first half when the mystery was still...well, a mystery. Also, as I said before, the story is actually intriguing until Jacob arrives on the other side of the "time loop" and starts spending time at the peculiar home. I was very much reminded of the "Charlie Bone" books from this point on. The author tried to create too many characters and the end result was that they are shallow and one-sided. They are actually more no-sided, really, because I honestly could not tell one child from another and by the time they were all working together as a group in the last 40 pages or so, I was no longer interested in what happened to any of them. There was no point to creating so many kids in the group because they were completely indistinguishable from each other. I couldn't even remember which power went with which name, much less what their supposed personalities were. I think if the author had picked two or three of the children and really tried to bring out their voices, it would have been much more effective.

That said, Jacob and Emma were the most interesting characters in this little "almost" novel, despite my personal aversion to Jacob's attitude and personality. They were at least some of the few characters with more than one dimension to them. I do have to admit, though, that the romance aspect didn't work for me. Emma starts out nearly sticking Jacob through with a knife and has spent decades missing and loving Jacob's grandfather, and then within 24 hours, they are friends and love interests? Come on, don't insult me as a reader.

The plot itself also seemed to be almost ad-libbed in the second half, as if the author said to himself "Ok, I've got this all set up....but where is it going to go...? Oh what the heck...time travel!"

A few little things: the monster was defeated WAY too easily (another "Oh....that's it?" moment); the fact that the grandfather's feared "monsters" turned out to be real monsters was lame and made me wonder why WWII was a necessary plot device at all; I don't remember learning why the people at the peculiar home don't start every day over with no memory of the previous day like their fellow villagers do; in the second half, the pictures felt superfluous.

This book's biggest vice? It's a first-of-a-series book. This is totally subjective and personal, but aren't all reviews? I really have a distaste for fantasy book series these days. I feel that many authors drag on plots and weak characters in order to produce 4, 5, or 6 books that will sell. I was honestly willing to swallow everything Ransom Riggs was feeding me as a reader until I realized that the book wasn't going to be resolved in any fewer than 2 sequels. That was the moment when the entire book felt cheap to me and the second half of the book suddenly felt cliché.

However, there are two things that I think contributed to my unfortunate reading experience. First, I am probably not the target audience. I'm a 22-year-old college student (and an English major to boot), not a junior high schooler, and I think this book may have been geared toward that age group. So if you're over 20, I'd look for a great standalone book and pass this one over. Or at the very least, get it from the library.

The second, I personally think this book was mis-advertised. All the descriptions I read from publishers made it sound on the gothic and creepy side, not another series with kids with special powers who will end up saving the world for ignorant non-magical/non-peculiar/non-endowed/non-whateveryourparticularseriescallsit humans. That is ultimately what left me with a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth. If the book had been properly represented, I wouldn't have read it.
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