I bet you haven’t missed all the hype about “Miss Peregrine’s Home for peculiar children” movie. You obviously couldn’t as Tim Burton is the one directing it. The books themselves are quite peculiar, I must say. Each book contains photographs, old photographs that serve as proof -to us readers- for the peculiar story to be a real one. In the book, the protagonist, Jacob, is shown the very same photos, by his grandfather Abraham (aka Abe). Such a peculiar story, there aren’t many ways to make it believable otherwise.
All in all, the books kept me nice company but also made me struggle a bit. I did not have that much the feeling of sadness when they were over, partially due to the struggling and partially due to the ending being really satisfactory, and for me that is important.
The first book is about Jacob’s introduction to this peculiar world. I am not really sure if “introduction” is the proper word here, as his reactions make you think that he was basically thrown in it, rather than introduced. The first book was easy for me to read, the story was easy to follow and although there are quite a few names, it’s really easy to keep up with each character. You get introduced into the peculiar element for the first time, so it’s really simple for the reader to absorb all the information and expect even more. Of course, since the story needs to continue, things need to start going wrong in the end and bringing everything back to normal will be the quest that the next two books will be about.
Hollow City, the second book is where the struggle started for me. It felt long, monotonic, predictable. I really felt like it was going on forever, without a reason since we all knew that by the end of this book everything will be fine. But, I was wrong. My reading experience was honestly saved by the last -maybe- 20 pages of this book. I don’t want to spoil it but if you are reading this one and considering to drop it because it got you demotivated, just keep going. Your whole world is about to fall apart very soon! So, the little twist in the end is what made this worthy for me and I am sure it will do the same for you too.
This last one, took me forever to finish. What really almost killed me was the description of the city – and please keep in mind I love descriptions of places. But this one… no matter what, I couldn’t really picture it and in no way it could really attract me or become anything close to interesting for me. I was certain that once the boring part was over something amazing will come, and I was not wrong, but till this was done, I suffered. I am not sure if it was Chapter 3 or 4, I think 3, that I was reading one or maybe one and a half pages and directly falling asleep every night for a week.
But, boring part aside,what was bothering me from the very first book was the “trap” the protagonist was falling into. You could clearly see that what he was going for was simply unreachable, his grandfather tried to make it happen before him and he didn’t manage, so what made him think he’d be able to manage it? There, I was not let down and this is where the satisfactory ending that I mentioned above comes in. By the end of the book, the reader understands that there was a difference created between grandfather and grandson (in their peculiarities) and although this just explains part of the grandfather’s life decisions, the big big problem remains only to be solved at the very very end of the last book with a quite decent -at least to me- explanation. And by quite decent I mean, it was not the power of love that solved this (which face it, we’ve heard enough of) but the consequences of an action. You know… Even if they were not trying to solve that very problem, it worked out and it was for the best.
I will for sure watch the movie as well, once it’s available on DVD but I’m not in a rush since I was told that the story of the movie is very different from the books. Which I don’t mind, to be honest, because bringing these 3 books to life will mean probably 3 movies with highs and lows. One movie, with a story based on this one, should be good enough.
Ransom Riggs as an author is quite good in general, and although I did almost drop books 2 and 3 in the middle, I really really can’t say I dislike them in any way, au contraire, I’m glad I finished them. The only thing that was a little hard for me was the vocabulary. I do have to say that I did learn a couple of new words -which my dad would say is very good- but on the other hand, I can’t say I was in mood to be distracted by my cellphone while googling for words I didn’t know, especially during the lows of the books.
Would I recommend these books? YES! And as for the parts that I thought were a little boring, maybe you guys won’t agree but if you do, don’t get demotivated, keep going, it only gets better!
Ps: It seems that Riggs is preparing yet another Miss Peregrine trilogy, if you are a fan, have an eye for it =)