I don’t read many young adult books as a personal preference. The same friend who lent me And Then There Were None also let me borrow Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. I was impressed overall with its execution and the voice Ransom Riggs maintained throughout. It’s not often that I read a wholly unique voice in contemporary literature of any genre. The positives of this book outweighed the negative, but the negative was certainly present.
As with many novels that have a deep character list, the characters seemed to lack depth. All except for the protagonist, Jacob, are flat representations of what could have been. With it being a trilogy (yes, I’m loosening my opinion on sequels a tad) I understand depth might be added within later books, but in terms of first impressions I was a little disappointed there.
I was enraptured with the story. The execution, it use of vintage photos along side an already riveting story was very keen. It was thrilling. I was along for the ride through out, and though some bits of language made me stop and ponder, the story brought me back. The sense of wonder it provokes called to me.
Ransom Riggs gets major credit (what ever that might mean for a small time writer like myself) for having cultivated his own unique voice. The level of comfort Riggs has with his writing voice is clear, or else he beautifully deceived me. In terms of language, it wasn’t spectacular. I didn’t run into wonderfully ornate literary sentences. But every word felt it belong to him.
There was only one passage from the book that caught my attention. This shouldn’t add or subtract any from the quality. I look for quotes on both terms of literary and profound statements. The quote I found was a artfully done description of a house.
“What stood before me now was no refuge from monsters but a monster itself, staring down from its perch on the hill with vacant hunger. Trees burst forth from broken windows and skins of scabrous vine gnawed at the walls like anti-bodies attacking a virus—as if nature itself had waged war against it—but the house seemed unkillable, resolutely upright despite the wrongness of its angles and the jagged teeth of sky visible through sections of collapsed roof.”
The personification of the house as a monster apt considering the themes and content of the novel. Painting it this way also projects an aura of menace from the house that I can feel even as a reader.
Overall I’m very happy with the book. I look forward to reading the sequels sometime in the near future. If you’ve read Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, let me know your thoughts in the comments. The next book I’m reading is an old favorite of mine: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. If you’ve read it before I’m sure you understand my excitement to re-read the work. I suspect however, I’ll have a lot more criticism about it this time around.