Friday, February 17, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Jacob's grandfather always told him some pretty fantastical tales, stories about a home he stayed in during World War II. All of the children had peculiar talents, like the super-strong boy, the boy with bees inside of him, and so on. And when Jacob was young, he believed his grandfather, especially since there was photographic evidence. But as Jacob grew older, he realized that the stories his grandfather was telling were made up. Fairy tales, if you will. There was no big house of peculiar children. There weren't any monsters prowling in the shadows for them. By the time he was sixteen, Jacob had left those silly tales behind him.

Until the night his grandfather died. Everyone said it had to be an animal attack, except Jacob knows he saw a monster attack his grandfather, one out of the stories he used to tell. And his grandfather's last words are strange enough to make Jacob wonder if those stories might not be true after all.

And so Jacob finds himself on a quest to find out the truth about Miss Peregrine and her collection of peculiar children, an adventure that takes him halfway around the world, through time, and will ultimately reveal who he really is.

I had heard some really positive buzz about this book when it was first published. Every time I went to the bookstore, I saw it on the shelves. Using some leftover giftcards from Christmas, I decided to pick up a copy and see what the hype was all about. Part of me is still wondering.

Don't get me wrong, the concept is kind of cool (although a bit reminiscent of the X-Men, truth be told). And the photographs, which author Ransom Riggs claims are original and (mostly) not retouched are pretty cool. They made me wonder what the true story behind some of them were. Jake, the main character, is likeable enough and I was definitely rooting for him.

But as for the rest of it . . . I don't know. I can't quite put my finger on it. The story is deftly told. The craft seems fairly strong. I just got a feeling that this story was supposed to be more . . . significant, I guess. It was an okay read, certainly interesting in its own right.

Riggs left himself open for a possible sequel, but I'm thinking this is where I get off. Not a bad book, but not a new favorite either.

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