Customer Reviews: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children)
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VINE VOICEon May 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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.
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on June 25, 2011
The story is amazing. However, the book is peppered with hand written letters and amazing vintage photographs which are hard to see and impossible to read on the Kindle. Purchasing this book in hard copy is the only way to go.
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on May 31, 2016
I starting reading this to the kids (12, 10 and 7) and really it's not for kids. Alcohol, drug references, violence and profanity. I would say it would be an interesting read for young adult or older people. I ended up not reading it to them after the first few chapters. That's probably my fault for assuming it was appropriate for kids because of the title.
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VINE VOICEon May 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When I first heard of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs with its intriguing title, cover, and premise, I was immediately smitten. I love odd books and this one seemed unique in every way. I'm very glad to report that Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was so enthralling that it overcame jet lag from a 10-hour plane ride - I just had to read to the end!

Jacob has always been in awe of his colorful Grandpa Portman, who told him stories about his fabled childhood in a faraway island where he lived in order to hide from monsters. Jacob first believed in his grandfather's extraordinary tales of his friends, strange orphans with magical abilities, especially since his grandfather had photographs as proof of their existence. However, as he grew older, Jacob began to doubt that the stories, the orphans, or the photographs, were real...until his grandfather's cryptic last words and a letter from a mysterious Miss Peregrine spur Jacob to search for his grandfather's childhood home, which turns out to be in a small island off the coast of Wales. What he finds there is completely unexpected.

"The trees parted like a curtain and suddenly there it was, cloaked in fog, looming atop a weed-choked hill. The house. I understood at once why the boys had refused to come.

"My grandfather had described it a hundred times, but in his stories, the house was always a bright, happy place---big and rambling, yes but full of light and laughter. What stood before me now was no refuge from monsters, but a monster itself, staring down from its perch with vacant hunger. Trees burst forth from broken windows and skins of scabrous vine gnawed at the walls like antibodies attacking a virus--as if nature itself had waged war against it---but the house seemed unkillable, resolutely upright despite the wrongness of its angles and the jagged teeth of sky visible through sections of collapsed roof.


"I gathered up what scrawny courage I had and waded through waist-high weeds to the porch, all broken tile and rotting wood, to peek through a cracked window. All I could make out through the smeared glass were the outlines of furniture, so I knocked on the door and stood back to wait in eerie silence, tracing the shape of Miss Peregrine's letter in my pocket. I'd taken it along in case I needed to prove who I was, but as a minute ticked by, then two, it seemed less and less likely that I would need it."

What happened to the inhabitants of this devastated ruin and how was Grandfather Portman involved? Jacob's investigation turns from creepy to heart-palpitatingly scary, then poignant. Where the story went truly surprised me, not only delivering on its promise of eccentric and dark but inventing a rich and magical other world of "peculiar" children and monsters that's convincingly woven with real history.

The writing is so descriptive and evocative that I now question if the vintage photographs interspersed throughout the narratives are even necessary to the enjoyment of the story. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was apparently inspired by these weird photographs the author found, each with something so off-kilter about them that they can inspire multiple fantastic stories on their own. While I loved the photographs, they were a bonus rather than essential.
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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....
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on June 25, 2016
I felt like this book was very similar to xmen. You go from an older guy running a school for kids who aren't ordinary to an older lady who does the same. Also, the main love interest does the same thing as the xmen character with fire. I'm trying to be somewhat vague because I dislike to much information, but I hope whomever is reading this understands what I'm getting at.

I did have some issues with charachters blending together making me want to skip parts because I really had no clue, for example, Hugh, Horace, and Enoch. There wasn't enough on these characters leaving much to be desired. They were reduced to their one peculiarity and could have been developed a lot better.

There was some dry reading to be honest, but I'm giving it 3.5 stars because it did keep my attention for the most part. I didn't relate to any of the characters except for a scene where Jacob finds a box in Emmas room. I feel like a lot of girls can relate in that instance (again trying to be vague - girls like to keep these "things" regardless of good/bad). I am excited to see the movie. I'd like to see how they are able to make this story different then others such as Xmen.

The cards that came with the set are pretty cool. The hand writing on each of them is different. Thumbs up on that one.
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on September 10, 2015
This book is very imaginative and I enjoyed readying it to my children who are 10 and 12 years old. But there is some VERY foul language in it that I feel like is totally inappropriate for children. Once, for example, the character says something about "giving a Bl..w.job to a trucker." Now is that for kids? No, it's pretty disgusting.
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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 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.
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on December 14, 2015
While initially reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, I liked it very much. The story started out strong, and intriguing. It was at this point in time that the main character, Jacob felt the most real and relatable. The story seemed well-paced, and it seemed a great deal of effort had been put into developing some of the characters – however, that feeling began to peter away as I continued throughout the book.
Eventually, reading the book, I just stopped caring. It lost the allure and the stream it had in the first part of the novel, and that began happening once Jacob began spending more of his time in the loop with the children than in the time period in which he was born. There were many things in the story which seemed to happen the way they did, for no reason at all, for the sole purpose of furthering the plot. It’s hard to describe what I mean when I say that, but I would liken it to seeing the strings on a marionette puppet. The author being the puppet master, the novel and its events the puppet. The “action scenes” were plodding. It was all a little too transparent for me, but I can see where a middle-school student would like the book very much.
I think Riggs bit off more than he could chew, trying to incorporate so many different characters. They all kind of blended together – I found myself struggling to differentiate between Hugh, Horace, and Enoch. Many of them seemed reduced to only a few traits, one of those traits being the use of their ‘peculiarity’ within the novel. Each character was a tool, but in a very obvious way. I felt like it was all just too gimmicky. Especially the dialogue, and the fact that Emma and Jacob fell in love in three days.
To a degree, I almost felt like Riggs was tired of his own story before he even finished it. I read on Wikipedia that he originally wanted to just use the photographs and make a picture book, but someone convinced him to write a narrative to go with them. And honestly, to me, as the book goes on the narrative does feel more and more like an afterthought. Golan is your textbook MWAHAHA-yes-let-me-tell-you-my-evil-plan villain, and one of the children who is seriously injured somehow brushes off massive blood loss and a bullet wound with a tourniquet (very dangerous, never use in real life except as a last resort) and some Advil. The novel was the X-Men + time travel, and time-travel isn’t even novel within the X-Men universe itself. I had hope for the book initially, however, I finished it feeling very unimpressed. And, I’m going to get petty here, what else would I expect from a book with a “buy it!” tagline from John Green on the back.
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