Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Published: 7th June 2011
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 352
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Fantasy, mystery
Rating: ★★★★★
Buy: Paperback
More: Goodreads

Please note that while I have tried to avoid mentioning any spoilers, it was pretty hard to write this review without referring to anything specific, so I cannot guarantee that you won’t read anything you don’t want to know!

Abridged synopsis from Goodreads: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photos. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sends 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.

I first heard about Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children last year and made a post about it, sharing the super creepy movie-like book trailer and extract, but for no good reason it at all, it has taken me a year to pick it up. I, like most people, was instantly drawn to it because of the cover and old photographs that are scattered throughout the book. I didn’t realise at the time that these are vintage photographs — actually real and taken from personal collections — rather than created especially for the book. This is just one aspect of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children that adds exciting realism to the story.

Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham Portman, escaped the Nazis during WWII, though his family were not as fortunate, but there are other ‘monsters’ that continue to haunt him. In contrast, Jacob has spent most of his ‘ordinary’ life listening to his grandfather’s ‘fairy tales’ of mysterious children who can levitate, become invisible, and play host to a swarm of bees. Jacob is about to experience just how extraordinary his life could be…

Ransom Riggs expertly crafts eerie anticipation and build-up throughout the story. It is slow, but doesn’t at all drag.  Cairnholm reminded me a little of  Shutter Island and that’s how I pictured it – perfectly average, in a way, but tinged with a sense of something not quite right. Although you might first assume that Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a horror novel, it is neither horror nor a thriller, but instead a spectacular, bizarre mystery. A highlight of the novel for me was watching everything unravel and become clear to Jacob as well as myself. Who is Miss Peregrine? What happened to the orphanage? What part does Abe play? Halfway through the story, these questions begin to be answered, and it takes us to a world of fantasy and folklore involving the peculiars. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a wonderfully cinematic story and I could easily visualise every odd conversation, every magical curiosity, every discovery, leading up to the ‘big event’ at the end of the book.

The magical elements were gripping, even though it is not my first choice of genre, because it constantly blurred the boundaries between fantasy and reality, which made me go with the story and believe it could be true. I thought that every single character stood out (in particular Emma and Millard!) although I wish we could have found out more about their individual histories (perhaps in the sequel, published next year?). I also think it would’ve been interesting (and possibly creepier) if the children acted more as adults, because, after all, some of them are over one hundred years old. But, then again, they are not exactly ‘normal’ human beings. Even so, I thought everything – the pacing, the little dropped hints, the strange events, and Jacob’s narrative, worked together extremely well to create a fascinating and enjoyable plot.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a wonderfully unique and inventive book with colourful characters, a mysterious story, and a splash of historical relevance, incorporating vintage photographs that bring the story to life.

Watch the book trailer here.

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33 thoughts on “Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

  1. I’m a bit scared to read this book because I’m the jumpy type. Haha. But since you said it isn’t horror, then I’ll read it! :)

    • Oh, it definitely won’t scare you, it’s more eerie than scary :)

      • I’m 75 and really enjoying this book. I’m particularly thrilled that my 14-year-old granddaughter recommended it and thought I’d like it. We’re going to have a book discussion club — starting with this! Life is good despite some bad stuff!

    • It is sooooooo amazing – and I am really picky with what books I read! One day in Chapters with my best friend, I was looking for my English ISU book when my friend handed me this book, said to read just the blurb and have an open mind. I’m the type to read stupid love books with corny love stories that all end the same and I think that’s why she handed this to me: it’s such an amazing story that isn’t the typical teenager novel. It’s so much more than that. LOVED IT and actually can’t wait to present it to my class later this month. It’s gonna be a lot of work but it’ll be on a book that I LOVED! :) a must-read

  2. Great review – it sounds like an amazing book. I’ve had it on my shelf for a while, I just need to get round to reading it. :) xx

  3. I remember feeling excited to start Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and I’m happy that Riggs didn’t disappoint me — I very much enjoyed this book, and I’m looking forward to the sequel!

  4. I really enjoyed the way everything fitted together. I’m reallyl ooking forwards to the sequel and the film-after such a great book, they should be too!

  5. […] by Ray Bradbury Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden The Dead of the Night by John Marsden Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë […]

  6. I read the kindle sample of this book after it was mentioned on another blog I read. It got me interested, but I haven’t read it yet. I have like 30 books at home waiting for me to read them, LOL

  7. its mind boggling, disturbing yet a very adventurous book. I can let it go and wanted to know what happens next. Like Jacob in the book, I also want to know about the peculiar.

  8. SUSPENSEFUL. had me trembling.

  9. This book was great! Is it true, i didnt know cause it said the pictures were real…

  10. […] you’re wondering, here are the other books that I’d happily feature on this list: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Probability of Miracles, Londoners, Second Chance Summer, Rebecca, New Girl, Legend, The Art […]

  11. […] – click here July-December 2012 ★★★★★ Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Classic #7) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Barbara […]

  12. is this book a true story?

  13. I thought the book had a lot of depth, It seems to me that it is an exploration of genocide and the root causes of cruelty and evil, filtered through a modern magical mystery genre.

  14. I saw this book in the book store today and I can’t wait to read it!

  15. I have to write a five paragraph essay on this book and on its genre. Although i myself enjoyed this book , i don’t think I can do it …

  16. If anyone is interested in learning a little bit more about the book and movie, there’s some here:
    http://thepeculiarchildren.wikia.com/
    This is also an open page in need of some editors! PLEASE feel free to do so!
    So far, Ransom Riggs has suggested Tilda Swinton as Miss Peregrine.

    • Tilda Swinton would be perfect, she has played many roles that you feel that there are many details under the surface of the character. she looks openly into the camera, but her eyes are shuttered.

  17. […] Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs A novel that took over the blogosphere for a while. It’s a wonderfully unique and inventive book with colourful characters, a mysterious story, and a splash of historical relevance, incorporating vintage photographs that bring the story to life. […]

  18. […] Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs | Bitten and Written Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs | prettybooks Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children- Ransom Riggs | bellsiebooks Review | Miss […]

  19. I was hesitant about picking up this book, but your awesome review changed my mind! Great post!
    -Nikki

  20. hi I just finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and am writing the review right now. but i also made a book review on A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas. my review is not as good as yours but hope you check my blog out and hope we can follow each others blog..

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