I’ve wanted to start a book review series for awhile now. I read a lot of books (I’m currently in the middle of three!), and I have thoughts about all of them. Fiction, nonfiction, Pagan, books of poetry, and books on writing…you can find them all in my collection. While it would be hard for me to review every single book I read, I do want to share my thoughts on several of them. So, today, I am posting my first book review. ❤ This is a fiction book. Eventually I’ll make up some graphics so that it’ll be easy to tell what kind of book the review is about: a graphic for fiction books, and a separate graphic for witchy-type books. I don’t have such a graphic yet, but I just finished reading a book that I just had to talk about. (Small spoiler: it’s fucking amazing!)
I just finished a book called Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. To be honest, I had never heard of this book nor this author (and it turns out this was his first novel!). However, I was intrigued by the cover, and when the blurb mentioned an abandoned orphanage and a mysterious island I knew this book was meant for me to read. I adore mystery, and I have always been drawn to things that are creepy. Abandoned houses inspire me to no end, and I find myself constantly wanting to explore them. The mnore rundown and decrepit they look the more inviting they look for a writer/photographer to take pictures of, hang on her wall, and write into her latest story. So, naturally, I bought this book on the spot. I couldn’t not.
This book is very unique in that it combines fiction writing with photography–two of my absolute favorite things. Every so often in this book you come across a picture meant to portray a character in the book, or a drawing that one of the characters did, and it just immerses you even more in the story. It has inspired me to someday try this with one of my own books!
So what is this book about? Jacob, a young teenage boy, loses his grandfather in a tragic way that no one believes Jacob about. After being told he’s crazy by everyone in town, he’s taken to a therapist who convinces his parents that it’s a good idea for Jacob to go explore the island his grandfather told wild tales about. There, he finds the abandoned orphanage his grandfather so fondly talked about, but it’s nothing like his beloved grandfather described. Until he discovers a secret in the nearby bog.
Written with beautiful, descriptive prose and filled with many and varied compelling characters, this book is amazing. I bought it on a Thursday morning, began reading it late Thursday night and had finished it’s 352 pages by Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t put it down and anytime I wasn’t writing, walking dogs or feeing cats, or at my dayjob I had my nose wedged in the pages. Riggs does a phenomenal job writing this page turner, and knows just where to end a chapter to make it so you can’t stop yourself from going onto the next one.
It is really hard to creep me out. I adore horror movies, but they never scare me. It is supremely hard to give me that creepy feeling, or to make me question the dark. The first half of this book managed to do that for me. Thursday night I lay in bed reading it until the wee hours of the morning and when I finally turned off the lights to get some sleep I wondered if I would have nightmares (note that nightmares are very rare for me to have). I didn’t actually have any, but I relished the fact that I was wondering about it as so few things can do that to me.
The pacing in this book is really great. It doesn’t let the reader ever be bored and feel like the story has slowed, nor does it throw so much in your face at once that you feel like it’s too much…even though a lot happens in this book. Everything in this book has a purpose–there is no filler, no unnecessary bits that leave you wondering why it’s mentioned.
I have only two gripe with this book: The first is that it left some unanswered questions. It didn’t tell me the WHY to a lot of things it brought up. However, it is part of a series and so there are plenty of chances for those questions to be answered, so until I have read the entire series I can’t say for sure that those questions are never answered. My other gripe is that I don’t yet own book 2. 😛
This book has easily rocketed to my favorites shelf and is in my top three favorites. It gets a five out of five stars from me!