Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
At first, Jacob believed the fantastical stories from his grandfather's childhood, but after repeating some of those stories at school and being bullied, he decided that fairy tales were for babies, and that those stories couldn't possibly be real. But he was so wrong. When he finds his grandfather dying in the woods, he passes on some cryptic last words, instructing Jacob to find the island, and go to Miss Peregrine's home. And so Jacob does, and not only does he discover that everything his grandfather said was true, but also that Jacob might have the most precious gift of all.
I checked this book out as an e-book from my library, and this was the first book that I had ever checked out that way. I'm very glad that I passed on this book at the bookstore, not only because the cover is creepy, but also because the book just doesn't live up to the hype.
At first, I found this a really interesting story. The grandfather dies and Jacob must come to terms with the man that he loved so much perhaps not being the man he thought he was. I was just starting to really love this concept-grandchild coming to terms with the humanity and dishonesty of this grandfather-when I met the peculiars. Then this became a rather run of the mill story. Jacob travels to the Cairn island, a remote, dreary place, and finds the house, then finds the peculiars, frozen in time on September 3, 1940. They are hidden in time for their protection from wights and hollowgasts, evil former peculiars bent on immortality. Jacob, like his grandfather, is the only one that can see them, so he suddenly becomes the most important member of this strange troop.
The idea for this book supposedly came from strange antique photos, dozens of which are scattered throughout the text. But instead of enhance the story, they seem to detract from it. Whole paragraphs are spent on describing one passing character that is illustrated in a photo. Some photos just seem forced and some descriptions do little to further the plot.
The action is typical. The only adult in this hidden world is Miss Peregrine, and she is kidnapped and the children must use their peculiar skills to free her from a dangerous wight. They ban together like so many demigods, magicians, wizards and radiated youth before them and fight. Of course they beat the one bad guy, but, gasp, there are more, and the children make the decision to leave the loop, their safe haven and prison, and fight the evil wights and hollowgasts. And Jacob leaves the modern world and everything he knows to go with them, and to go with Emma, the girl he, and his grandfather (eeeww) loves.
I was honestly more impressed when I thought this book would be about Jacob discovering that his grandfather was maybe not the moral, honest man that he thought he was. But then the book would not be called what it is. I'll pass on the next installment, and judging from Goodreads, it's not even close to being published yet, so that makes me think that this device of using pictures to force text is not paying off as well for a second volume. Interesting in theory, but not in practice.