Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

This book had been on my radar for quite a while, and with the movie out recently, I was interested in reading it. Initially I thought it to be a horror story (can you blame me, with that cover?) but it turned out to be a fantastic urban/historical fantasy, with a distinct world set up. Jacob never really believed his grandfather’s stories were true, until he sees him being attacked. Unsure of his reality, he seeks out the truth at the island where his grandfather’s story began, where Miss Peregrine has a safe haven for kids who are something more. Sort of like the X-men, but in time stasis, the kids over there haven’t aged a day since the time it began as a safe haven, so when Jacob enters their world, he literally meets his grandfather’s childhood friends.

Jacob befriends the children pretty soon, and also realizes that he is of value to them. While also seeing the magnificence of the world, he sees that it is like a cage for them. They can’t age and are stuck in a perpetual childhood, under the care of Miss Peregrine, who is kind but a cage is still a cage. He and the other Peculiars are being threatened by evil creatures and that is the only safe place for them. It brings up all kinds of moral obstacles for the reader – while it is safe, it is also stagnant. The kids have a slightly warped sense of responsibility, like playing pranks on the townspeople because time is static, and there is a childishness in their agelessness. I was also a bit confused by the romance being brought up, because it is just plain weird. Overall, though, I love the world-building and characters and the potential they have.

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