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This review is from: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children) (Hardcover)
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.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 15, 2011 6:52:54 AM PDT
Kathryn Atwood says:
I"m only half-way through but I too am feeling bogged down with the unrealistic writing style and the serious overuse of adjectives! Great review!
Posted on Jan 8, 2012 2:50:33 PM PST
Amazon Customer says:
Posted on May 29, 2012 11:57:59 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 11:59:11 AM PDT
Emily Hiesl says:
Thank you for this review, now I know I'm not crazy. I couldn't finish the thing, only got halfway, however I kept flipping back and forth through the book to view the photos over and over again. They were (almost, since I didn't pay for the book) worth the trouble of slogging through the 150 pages that I did read. I should have known the novel and any lame, "whimsical" attempts to explain these little mysteries wouldn't hold a candle to the photos' awesomeness, they really stand on their own. So sad, I was very disappointed in the lack of creepiness; thank goodness the photos were too fascinating to be diminished by totally uncreepy, lackluster writing.
Posted on Oct 1, 2012 3:55:27 PM PDT
Just my point, you knew the main character the least because he did not even know himself. He had no idea who he was, why certain things had happened etc. He started to understand himself (and I understood him more) as the story unfolded, as he became his own person, with his own ideas and desires and wants. No 15 year old knows themselves fully yet. Did you?
Posted on Apr 21, 2013 4:19:03 PM PDT
J. Murphy says:
Accurate review! You're spot on with your observations. Though I loved the first 150 pages and grew less interested in the book as the narration began to take full hold. I enjoy the pokey pace, the detailed descriptions and the floral language found in the first half of the book, but found the narrative in the second half to to be derivative.
Posted on Sep 24, 2015 8:21:11 AM PDT
Michael D. Whitney says:
Summary of the book:
"Don't do that, he'll shoot you!"
"Well we can't just do nothing!"
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