Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
Published : 2011
by Quirk Books
On audible narrated by Jesse Bernstein
This review is based on the audiobook version from audible.com.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children tells the story of Jacob.
Immediately, we fall in-love with Jacob's grandfather named Abe.
In fact, I would have been totally if this book tells the story of Abe.
Thinking about it, without Abe, this story wouldn't have been at all possible.
Let me explain that...
Jacob is the only person who loves Abe. We get that pretty clearly on the get-go.
He has a special relationship with his grandfather, starting at a young age.
Abe likes to tell fantastic stories to young Jacob, who ate it all up.
Jacob has a lot of
boring personal issues. He has one friend who bolted at the first sign complication.
I found it difficult to empathized with Jacob, because his issues are just so high-school.
Plus, Jacob is upper-middle class who would inherit a multi-million dollar chain of drugstores.
Sorry, Jacob. I was born lower middle class and have remained lower middle class.
I'm not saying that money should make you happy. But Jacob doesn't value the opportunities his connections afford him.
Instead, Jacob lives in his tiny little world without motivation.
That is until his grandfather dies.
Jacob sees his grandfather die. More importantly, he sees his grandfather's killer.
And, it wasn't human.
It was a horrible fantastical creature that shouldn't exist in a mundane book-world.
But this wasn't that world and Abe leaves enough crumbs for Jacob to take us to the wonderful world of Miss Peregrine.
Before the story picks up at Miss Peregrine's, we learn that Abe was a WWII veteran as well as a holocaust survivor.
Abe was one of the few lucky Jewish children who was shipped out to England before things got very bad.
We learn that after everything, Abe developed dementia and his family thinks he has gone bonkers.
Only Jacob sympathized with Abe. Don't worry, Jacob, I also deeply sympathize for Abe.
As I've said, I wouldn't mind a grandfather having Jacob's adventures.
Alas, we had to follow Jacob who is 16-year-old. He and his father traveled to a little island in England (after Jacob's therapist agrees).
The home where Abe had stayed with Miss Peregrine is a regular haunted house.
It was a dilapidated and bombed out (via WWII) house.
Not knowing anything about the premise, I thought that ghost stuff was going to happen.
Something else happens and Jacob finds Miss Peregrine and her wards.
There are a handful of peculiar children living with Miss Peregrine.
Everyone in the school has special powers.
Wait, what? School. Gifted Children. Slightly eldritch headmaster/mistress.
That's right. You are thinking exactly what I was thinking:
XAVIER'S SCHOOL FOR GIFTED CHILDREN!!!
mutants children were rescued from horrible circumstances of people who couldn't understand their power.
As per usual, there's a Magneto to Miss Peregrine's Xavier.
The Magneto-s come in the form of hollowgasts and whites.
Hollowgasts are pandimensional creatures who eat up peculiars and people.
Whites were peculiars who have lost their power and are slaves to hollowgasts.
Mind that there's a lengthy exposition by Miss Peregrine on all this.
Anyhow, most main character children have names and their abilities are described in full.
As the story goes on it's difficult to keep up with who is who.
Except for the token best friend and the love interest (it's young-adult after all).
It took a while for me to get into this audiobook.
I blame Jacob and his personal issues.
The annoying personal conflict comes up periodically, placed in spaces before and after action-packed sequences.
That made it even more annoying.
I don't have anything against internal conflicts. But it was too shallow to matter.
Since this book has a sequel, I suppose that Jacob's internal conflict would be richer in the future.
The action sequences are very good. The character's decisions are believable.
Having said that, the action sequences (especially the climax) is very long.
The adrenalin rush is there but it gets tiring and fizzles out when you've been at it for a long time.
What really shines is the mystery. It's generic but it's presented enough that it looks fresh.
Like packed cooked meals you get from the grocery.
It looks fresh and you believe it's fresh, even though you know it's really not.
Listening to this book is very enjoyable.
There are snippets of gold here and there, such as the villagers, the bog-man history, etc.
The gold is enough to carry me through the boring bits.
3.5 stars out of 5
PS I have Hollow City, the 2nd book of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.