When I first saw this book at Barnes & Noble a few months ago, I was very very excited to read it. The whole concept of the book was intriguing to me. The author created a story around vintage photographs from various collectors, where each photograph could have spawned a story of it’s own, completely unrelated to the other photographs. To top it off, the book fell into the mystery/fantasy genre that I love so much, and young adult novels are a breeze to read. It felt like a good book to pick up over the holiday break.
Without offering up too many spoilers, I will say this… The book was very easy to read and kept me engaged because I kept wanting to know what would happen. I liked the overall storyline and I felt that it was rather original, but I wish some of the ideas and themes were developed further. It took a while for the story to introduce what exactly “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is. I felt that the story could have provided more background into each of these peculiar children – more history on how they came to the home and more description as to what made them so peculiar – and how these peculiarities first developed (which was briefly explained, but not to my satisfaction). And I would have liked more information on Grandpa Portman, who is mostly characterized as a senile old man. I found the major “struggle” rather predictable, which could be because it was actually very predictable or because I’ve read enough books to be able to identify the villain even when they are hiding in plain sight.
What really made me upset was the ending. So many books these days are trying to capitalize on “series” or “sequels” or “trilogies” or whatever… and so the stories don’t really end when the book is finished, but at least this is expected when picking up a book series. However, there is no indication at the start of this book (or on the cover or the description) that this book is intended to be the start of a series, so I was really disappointed that the ending was a MAJOR cliff-hanger. At the end of the book, Jacob was where I expected him to be, but there are so many more questions than answers… What are the wights up to? How many wights are there and how is this related to WWII? What happens to the children drifting in the ocean on these little rafts? They didn’t bring any food or water or supplies with them, so how are they supposed to survive? Will Miss Peregrine ever return to her normal form? I was pretty mad when I set the book down because there was no closure.. at all.
Suffice it to say.. I think it was a good first book for Ransom Riggs, and I LOVED the incorporation of the pictures into the story, which made the characters seem more real and less imaginary. And although it wasn’t deeply insightful, it was rather entertaining and a quick read. And because I like closure, I will probably pick up the sequel, if in fact there is one.
Rating – 3 out of 5