I ordered Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children on an impulse after randomly watching the upcoming movie trailer on Facebook. I’d heard a lot of good things about the book, and I decided to give it a go for myself.
Don’t worry. This review is spoiler-free!
What stood out to me the most right off the bat was the author’s voice. A seemingly effortless combination of simplicity and cleverness makes for an enjoyable experience.
When I read a book, I prefer to know as little as possible about plot specifics beforehand. Therefore, when I started Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, I didn’t really know what to expect. The first half of the book felt a little bit slow. Jacob (the protagonist), spends about a third of the book exploring his grandfather’s past before ever encountering the titular characters. That’s not to say any of it was boring (on the contrary!), it just took a bit longer than I thought it would.
Once Jacob meets Emma, Miss Peregrine, and the others, however, the pace really starts to pick up. I finished the last two-thirds of the book in about a day, which is rare for me since I have a relatively short attention span when reading novels (don’t judge me).
The photographs in the edition I bought added such a rich backdrop to the plot as well.
Jacob as a 16-yr-old protagonist works marvelously. There were a few occasions, mostly towards the beginning, where I seriously questioned his logic (it felt like the author needed Jacob to do things or go places and had no substantial motive for him to do so other than ‘it felt right’). Nevertheless, Jacob was a refreshing take on a troubled, teenage protagonist. He’s quite relatable all the way through.
The peculiar children were loads of fun as well. Emma and Millard were my personal favorites. They have such unique personalities, and the focus isn’t placed solely on their peculiarities (which is good). Enoch is creepy as heck, but hey…I won’t complain too much.
The one character I had a hard time with was Miss Peregrine herself. As a titular character, I thought she would have a much more developed identity and role within the story. I’m sure in the sequels she’ll have a bigger part to play, but in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children she’s little more than an exposition vehicle. I was disappointed by that. Also, all her dialog voice felt forced and awkward.
I’ve already ordered the sequel, despite myriad grumblings from my bank account. This is a story you simply can’t leave unfinished, and I’m glad I read it later than most because now I don’t have to wait for the sequel to be finished!
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. If a bit of language and a few moments of mild graphic violence don’t bother you, I honestly think this is a must-read for readers who like fantasy with a bit of something…peculiar.
Note: after finishing the book, I rewatched the trailer. I was greatly disappointed. Visually, it looks amazing. However, for some unknown reason, one of the major characters is completely removed (or swapped for another minor character). For that, I have one question: why? If you were planning on watching the movie, I urge you to read the book first.
In the meantime, have a great day!