Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs - guest review

Jacob grew up being enthralled by the tales his grandfather Abe told him, of how, at the age of 12, the only surviving member of his family to escape from Poland during the horrors of WW2, he came to live at Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an orphanage situated on a remote island off the coast of Wales.  Abe even had photos of the peculiar children, strange black and white snapshots, the girl who would float away if she wasn’t wearing her weighted shoes, the girl with two mouths, or the boy who had prophetic dreams.  Abe ended up there because he was special too, he could see monsters, and he had been running from them all his life.

As Jacob grows up, he comes to realise that they are just that, stories and ramblings of an old man in the grip of dementia.  But when tragedy strikes, and Jacob finds his badly injured grandfather dying in the woods, Abe tells Jacob to go to the island to uncover the truth for himself.  So Jacob sets off on a journey of discovery…

For the most part, I enjoyed this book, which is marketed at young adults.  It is beautifully designed and the inside is interspersed with haunting black and white pictures, which makes it all the more intriguing.  There are elements of magical realism, as well as a healthy dose of fantasy, there is also adventure and love, peril and villains, shape-shifting and time travel. 

The only niggles I have are, that although part of the book is set in Wales, (in both 2011 and 1940), sadly, you don’t get any sense of that.  There is no local dialect used, and the children of WW2 use words and expressions that I very much doubt were around back then.  Then there are the photographs themselves, all very haunting, but clearly not contemporary with the 1940s.

However, all that aside, the book was beautiful to look at, quirky and enjoyable to read, and there is scope for a sequel, which I will definitely buy.

Reviewed by Janice Lazell-Wood, guest reviewer.

Published by Quirk Books

Many thanks to Janice for kindly reading and reviewing this novel for The Little Reader Library.

Thanks to PGUK Books for sending a copy of this novel for review.


  1. A great novel, I really enjoyed it despite my agreeing with the criticisms you make and those incredibly eerie photos some of which I found totally scary.

  2. The language got on my nerves too, especially as the kids sounded quite modern. Loved the photos though, will be interested to see how he manages to incorporate them in the sequel.

    I think the era of the photos didn't matter too much as they tended to look older and I could imagine the home being a bit stuck in the past.

  3. I liked the idea of this but thought the plot didn't quite live up to the beginning of the book. It was an unusual read though.


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