Thursday, October 6, 2016
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
While not the scariest book in the world, I felt it necessary to take a little time to review this book in light of the recent movie that came out. First rule of book-to-movie-adaptations: Don't expect Tim Burton to be all that faithful to the source material. That being said, I'm here to look at the book, not the movie so...let's do this thing.
This book is the story of Jacob Portman, a whiny rich kid from Florida who is traumatized by the shocking death of his grandfather by a horrible monster. Of course, nobody believes Jacob when he says he saw a monster, so he does a bit of research and finds the island where his grandfather used to live. When he goes there, he discovers that the fantastical children his grandfather used to tell him of in stories not only exist, but are still alive. Living in a time loop with their bird-lady matron, these special children stay hidden from the people of the world, and the terrifying monsters that want to eat them.
The gimmick for this book is a really good one. The story was written around antique photographs that the author collects and many of which are included in the story itself. Each peculiar child has their own special ability from controlling fire (it's EMMA that does this NOT OLIVE!!!), having prophetic dreams, even being a human beehive. While the existence of super, special X-men powers is not special, they're certainly interesting and creative. They add a lot to each character and having the visuals makes it easy to keep track of who is who and what they can do.
The story does take a little while to get started, but once it does it's pretty straight forward. The character of Miss Peregrine is actually really likable. She doesn't sugar-coat things and is very honest with Jacob, telling him how things are and welcoming him readily into the peculiar lifestyle. She's got a big job to do, both taking care of these kids and trying to protect them, but she'd got a great attitude and doesn't patronize the kids but treats them with respect. She's great to read about.
While the peculiar kids, Jacob, and Miss Peregrine are the heart and soul of the story, the rest of the cast, I have to admit, kinda fall flat. The other inhabitants are the island vary from stereotypical to just not very interesting. Jacob's parents are particularly annoying. While you do sympathize with them in a "what would you do if your kid suddenly started talking about monsters and kids with X-men powers?" kinda way, they are either unhelpful or just downright annoying. I just think the parents, Dad in particular, would have been much cooler if they woke up to the truth of the situation instead of just being in the way. A lot of books have parents like this and it's a cliche that I kinda wish would be dropped. Parents can be cool too, y'know!
Not new, but definitely fun. Creative, edgy, interesting, a ghoulish black and white photos make this book a great time. For me, this book is definitely worth your money at your local bookstore.
Have you read the book? What did you think? How'd you think it compared to the movie? If you haven't read the book, do you want to now? Comment below and tell me what you think!
Next time: ...and they all lived happily ever after...though they probably shouldn't have.