Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was a book that I heard a lot about before purchasing. I had read numerous blog reviews and features, and it had been personally recommended to me by several people. I had very high expectations, and I thoroughly looked forward to beginning it.
From the outset, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children appeared to be exactly my kind of book. The novel promises creepy vintage photographs and a fantasy plot. I am always fascinated by unusual reads; and this was an attractive concept.
Jacob has been raised listening to the outwardly far-fetched and imaginative tales of his Grandfather. After the mysterious and disturbing death of his Grandfather, Jacob travels to a quiet, remote island off the coast of Wales in an attempt to find answers regarding his Grandfather’s mysterious life and his disconcerting death. It is here that he finds the seemingly abandoned ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
The beginning of the novel is incredibly promising. The photographs are disturbing yet entrancing, and I found the prologue immensely intriguing. The plot was engaging and I found myself flicking through it in anticipation of the next photograph. This book is superb aesthetically; it was almost worth purchasing for the photos alone. They complimented the eerie atmosphere beautifully.
Unfortunately, despite the photographs, which are the most interesting aspect of the novel, I found Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children to be somewhat of a disappointment. The plot grew considerably weaker by the second half of the novel, and I found my interest dwindling. When compared with the beginning of the novel, the second half is remarkably dull. The pace slowed down and I found myself tempted to put the book down in favour of another read. To put it simply, the book does not have a strong enough plot to match up to the photographs. During my GCSEs we used to play a game that consisted of one person writing down a list of twenty words, which you then had to slot within a short creative writing extract. I felt that Riggs was almost doing the same exercise but with photographs replacing words. The photographs should have enriched the plot and the atmosphere of the novel, I do not feel that they should have directed the narrative in a way that at times felt rather forced. I feel that the concept of the novel was excellent, but the plot was underdeveloped, and lacked distinct direction. The phrase 'style over substance' springs to my mind. Likewise, I did not feel sympathetic towards Jacob, and consequently I did not feel particularly attached to him. He was not overly likeable as a hero, and I did not find him believable as a sixteen year old boy. I do not have a problem with disagreeable narrators, but I do think that the narrator ought to be intriguing enough to keep me reading. Jacob was not. He was not relatable, and I certainly did not find him likeable. Overall I simply felt that the premise of the novel was excellent, but it was executed extremely poorly. It's a pity as it is such a beautiful book.
I desperately wanted to like this. The premise was incredibly promising, and I'm very disappointed that it did not fulfil my expectations.I had read a number of outstanding reviews on this book before purchasing, and even though I am naturally a terrible sceptic, I wanted to believe them. I even read it second time in an attempt to coerce myself into liking this book just a little more. I do think that perhaps it would have been a lot more successful as a standalone novel. I have not yet read Hollow City, and I am still undecided as to whether I ought to read it. If anybody has read Hollow City after finding Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children disappointing, I would love to know if you think it is worth reading.