I’ve gone on a bit of a YA kick when it comes to reading, but I’m not mad about it. There are a lot of great things happening in YA lit land these days, and I’m here for it.
I was gifted the book that is the subject of today’s review because the gifter thought I’d enjoy how the book was setup. He was right.
Plot-wise, Ransom Riggs’s MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN isn’t something that new or shiny (ordinary boy finds out he isn’t so ordinary after all and is whisked off to a land of magic, intrigue, a pretty woman and the monsters he has to save them from); however, the use of vintage photographs to weave the story together made it both new and shiny. These vintage photographs are the heart of this tale so it’s no wonder even Tim Burton couldn’t make the movie a success. (Some books aren’t made for the screen. They just aren’t.)
Jacob is moody and annoying teenager. He’s an outcast with a questionable choice in friends, and parents he neither respects or admires. His ship’s course has already been mapped as he is heir to a chain of pharmacies in Florida. His mother comes from money; his father comes from peculiar.
He’s outgrown the myths and legends his paternal grandfather had filled his head with as a child. The island where everyone is safe and the sun is always shining, the children with magical abilities, the monsters with tentacles in their mouths… they were all tall tales exaggerated by an old man who had been sent to a remote island as a Jewish child during the war, an old man who had fought the Nazi monsters. (I thought the story might take a LIFE OF PI, “May’s Lion” slant and I almost wish it had.)
But when tragedy strikes, Jacob is plunged into a reality that his grandfather wasn’t filling his head with lies and fairy tales. His grandfather was a peculiar – one with a unique gift. Jacob has that gift as well.
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN is a little Series of Unfortunate Events meets American Horror Story: Freak Show meets X-Men First Class. It’s quirky, odd, creepy, and a bit fantastical. Will I finish the series? Probably not. Much like some books shouldn’t be movies, some books shouldn’t be forced into a series. If you’re writing a series, that first book better grab me and hold on tight with characters I can commit to – otherwise, my TBR pile to too big for me to bother.