Book Reviews · Books

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City

peregrines

“…slow and drunk is no match for fast and scared shitless.”

Greetings fellow booklovers! I’m here again for my second Book Review! 😀

Today’s books are Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City, both written by Ransom Riggs

A heed of warning: Spoilers may be encountered here. I did my very best to try and limit spoilage.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a story of the life of Jacob Portman, beginning with the search of his late grandfather’s mysterious past, leading to the meeting of a quite friendly bunch of other-wordly acquaintances, the discovery of his peculiarity, to saving the world. Quite a lot for a sixteen year old, right?

The books contains vintage photos taken from the pasts (as you can see: blacks and whites and that familiar Polaroid feel to viewing them) as they are being depicted by Jacob in the story.

Ransom Riggs, a vintage-photo collector himself, presented his novel in a different way. He used actual vintage photos from his collection or from that of others, added a little photo manipulation to a few, and concocted a beautifully created story from these photos.

A vintage photograph depicting what Miss Peregrine Looks like
A vintage photograph depicting what Miss Peregrine Looks like

I love the concept of photographs telling a story or being included in a story, because it helps me visualize what the author depicts of this character or place or situation.

But I have to admit, some of the photographs were creepy that at times I get spooked when I turn the page.

In both books, I experienced major cliffhangers at the end. They made me eager to read the upcoming books. And if you’re wondering, the series isn’t complete as of now. According to Riggs’ website, a third book is coming along.

Overall, I rate this series as 3.5 out of 5 stars

I think the first book was quite fun to read. I mean, I jerk in surprise when I turn the pages because of the photos. Sometimes, I would anticipate a photo whenever I turn the page. Haha. I couldn’t let go of the book though, I enjoy reading creepy stories even though I know I would end up scaring myself in the process.

Brief Recap:

The first book focuses more of Jacob himself, with his curious and distraught mind over his grandfather’s death. I say curious, because no one really understood Jacob’s grandfather, and that the cause of death was simply a haze. Jacob’s parents, as well as the others in his hometown, believe his grandfather was suffering terribly from dementia and/or delirium, and that a pack of wild animals killed him. But Jacob knew there was more to that. He knew his grandfather wasn’t crazy. He knew that something else didn’t kill his grandfather. As the events pass, he become more curious of his grandfather’s life.

He then sets off with his father to his grandfather’s old home before he moved to America, hoping to uncover tracks and clues to the mysteries. Upon reaching the island, he also discovered not only his grandfather’s hidden past, but a part of himself too.

He met Miss Peregrine, the same woman who took in his grandfather when he was a kid, and all of his grandfather’s friends, literally the same as he left them. Now, I know what you’re thinking “Aren’t they suppose to be dead or atleast of old age?” Well, true but not quite. I mean, one of them is at least 80 years old but still looks like she hasn’t gone through puberty yet. Time stood still in which they live which is called a loop. Here, the day repeats itself over and over again, never moving forward or back.

As Jacob becomes acquainted with the peculiar children, he also begins to realize he’s not much different from them at all. He too himself, inherited his grandfather’s peculiarity of being able to see the monsters, known as hollogasts, from the rest of the bunch.

There was an ongoing war between the peculiars. A few of them which were known as wights, were up for ruling the world, for they believed that the peculiar kind has been oppressed by the normal humans. They begin hunting for ymbrynes, peculiars who made the loops such as Miss Peregrine, for a crazy experiment they were doing.

From that, Jacob and his fellow peculiars set off an adventure to save Miss Peregrine, and possibly the world as well.

The Second Book is the beginning of the children’s journey, since the first book ended with simply them leaving the island and traveled to find a way to help Miss Peregrine. Upon abandoning their own loop and wander far and wide in search for help, they’ve encountered other loops, as well as other peculiars during this time. The children had to endure living by themselves, fending off enemies, and figure out a way to fix everything.

This is also where Jacob begins to mentally argue with himself if he truly believes that he’s peculiar enough to be able to protect his friends, and himself as well.

This is really an interesting read. Upon reading the first few pages, I assumed this would be a horror story, because, the pictures creep and scared me. I eventually got accustomed to them. Then it became more of a mystery, especially since the grandfather’s past was unclear. I liked this, and I would put post-it flags on pages of the book if ever these would be clues to figuring out where the story was heading.

It also had a historical feel to it. The time loops where situated in the time of the great World War II, taking place in Europe. There would be realizations mentioned by Jacob how he empathizes the people around him during this time. Children being forced to leave their parents for shelter and safety, with no certainty at all of seeing them again. Men going out to war. People scavenging for food, medicine, and shelter. And the abuse of the military men towards the citizens.

The peculiar children were fun, and I did want to learn about each and every one of them. Each one had a different personality and opinion on everything. One was fiesty and impulsive, another was cool and takes everything to an intellectual rationalization. It makes me wonder how on earth did they ever get along for all those years. Haha. But this is what I liked which probably leads to a lesson:

No matter how different you are from one another, there will be people to accept you for who you are.

Another is how the characters responded to their situational crisis. They were so comfortable under the wing of Miss Peregrine, they didn’t know how it would be living without her. They come to realize how to make decisions and resolve conflict on their own, and this made them become mature (even if they are, age-wise) and realize that the world out of their comfort zone is tough indeed.

With regards to the pace of the books, I usually found myself hooked on the first few chapters but then slowly falter a bit in the middle. It became too descriptive at times, and that Jacob’s internal monologue usually talks about his doubts of being able to handle being a peculiar or not. There were also some points where I think the author wanted to include this photograph into the story, but it felt to me that it was unnecessary or that it felt out of place in this part and that it just added a drag to the story. A few chapters before the ending the pace comes back up again, with a lot of surprises and plot twists. And the endings, both books were cliffhangers. Which makes me want to eagerly read the third book. Haha

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys vintage photgraphs, historical concepts, and a bit of magic and eccentricity of characters. It was quite an entertaining read overall.

Have you read the Miss Peregrine’s Home of Peculiar Children Series? What were your thoughts about it? 🙂

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