Tuesday, 9 April 2013

April 2013 - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children follows the story of an American teenager, Jacob, who traces his grandfather's footsteps back to the Welsh island he grew up on. The story is accompanied by a collection of strange vintage photographs.

Most of the group enjoyed the book and found the way that it is built around photographs to be interesting and original. Some of the photographs felt forced into the story for effort, and some were inconsistent (the photos of Emma for example) but overall we found it to be a refreshing way of telling the story. We found it to be visually exciting and well put together, particularly for a first novel.

Many of us found it quite scary; with creepy photos of tentacles and blank eyes, we thought it would be especially chilling for a young adult! Some felt that it had been mismarketed as a horror book though, it was more fantasy than horror. One person did not like fantasy so didn't connect with it at all, they found it too farfetched; although another, who doesn't usually enjoy fantasy, enjoyed it.

In reality the plot could not really be described as believable as it is fantasy, but while you are reading the story you do not question the fantastical things that happen, such as bringing people back from the dead; this seemed normal as part of the story! One person mentioned the similarity of the book to the Narnia series - stepping through a portal into a magical world and the fact it was set in the 1940s. A few people thought that some parts of the time travel were confusing and didn't make sense.

Regarding characters, we had mixed feelings. Some thought Emma and Jacob were convincing but we also had issues at how easy it was for Jacob to ditch his parents. The parents seemed supportive and Jacob had quite a privileged background but didn't seem to appreciate it. We thought that it took a while for the book to get going, for example some of the secondary characters weren't developed fully until near the end.

One passage that was mentioned as a particular favourite was when the children snuck out of the house by using Olive to float down from the roof! Many of us found the romance between Jacob and Emma to be slightly unsettling and we weren't sure how it would be developed in the next book as it feels a bit wrong for them to be together (Emma is trying to replace Abe, Jacob's grandfather and the love of her life). Perhaps Emma will be killed in the next book to bring an end to that (slightly incestuous) relationship!

The story is actually classified as 'young adult', although some of us did not realise until we got a way into the book. We didn't feel it was written in a child-like way, but you began to realise that it was targeted at young adults as it was written from the perspective of a teenager, developed into a love story, and the themes, although creepy, were not too disturbing!

The author was originally a screenwriter and the rights have now been bought for a film but we did not feel as though it had been intentionally written to be made into film, it stands up as a book in its own right. We think it would work as a film though. The author is American and some readers found that the English dialogue was a bit cockney! We also thought some of the language was a bit too modern to be in the 1940s.

The book is left open for a sequel/trilogy so many of us found the ending disappointing as we didn't realise it was not going to conclude until we reached the last pages! We thought that the ideas were strong enough to carry through to another book or two, but questioned how the photographs will work in the next book. 7 out of 8 of us wanted to see how the story continues and will definitely be reading the next one when it comes out (due out January 2014).

Write up by Sarah

No comments:

Post a Comment