Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Year Published: 2013
Brief Summary: Jacob’s grandfather, Abe, always used to show him pictures and speak of the peculiar children that he spent his youth with in hiding from the “monsters” of the war. Jacob stopped believing in his grandfather’s “fairytales” as he got older, but one day tragedy strikes and Jacob is suddenly being pulled back into Abe’s old stories, and this time they’re not just stories. An old island, an old house, an old bird, and some peculiar children await Jacob in his adventure to find out who caused this tragedy, and why he may be the only one who can help stop it from happening again.
(Warning: some brief spoilers) Ransom Riggs’ writing is fluid and very picturesque. He really knows how to create an image without any excess description. So much so that I can see the island of Cairnholm in my mind right now. This writing style was perfect for this book, as atmosphere was what draws the reader into the novel alongside the action and adventure that ensues throughout. The plot was unique and unlike anything I have ever read. It was evident that Riggs was often writing the story around some of the pictures he included. That bothered me a bit and made me wonder what the story would have been like without a few of those pictures, but I suppose that was the point; to write a story that connects to these old and mysterious photographs.
I was somewhat annoyed with Jacob at times, as he seemed a bit airheaded and was often so lost in his thoughts that he was a bit oblivious to what was going on around him. For example, it took him quite a while to realize he was in the past when he unintentionally entered the loop. Also, it took him a while to be certain that the other ornithologist his father encountered was, in fact, a wight. I wanted to shake him and tell him he was missing so much. Miss Peregrine fell a little flat for me, as she was serious at times but then acted silly other times. Emma was a bit strange; I felt as though she should have felt strange for liking Jacob, as she was technically much older than him and she had loved his grandfather before him. I did, however, enjoy learning about each of the children and their powers, personalities, etc. Overall they really made the novel more entertaining than just Jacob, Emma, Miss Peregrine, and Jacob’s parents would have.
Although this did not live up to the hype I was led on to believe in, this was still a very good book. It’s unique and the writing is fantastic.