(De recensie is in ‘t Engels wegens primaire publicatie op Goodreads :))
Based on the title and cover, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children did not seem like my cup of tea. It came across as more of a horror story, so I hadn’t been meaning to read it at all. After seeing some videos of Ransom and Tahereh though (they really are adorable together) and reading some positive reviews by fellow bookbloggers, I guess it kind of lingered in the back of my mind and I even ended up having a dream about it.
Well, I had a dream about some children in an old house. Seen as how my subconscious appeared to be drawn to this idea, I decided to follow suit and give Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children a chance.
At first I was quite curious to discover these peculiar children. I wasn’t entirely grasped by those first few pages but held onto that curiosity for as long as I could. Unfortunately, it quickly dissipated seen as how 1/3rd of this novel consist of seemingly endless build-up. Once the story finally started going somewhere, I couldn’t really be bothered anymore and just wanted the book to be over.
The addition of old (and at times slightly unnerving) pictures between the written pages was something unique, but in the end I don’t feel it was necessary. I could imagine what the pictures looked like perfectly fine from Jacob’s descriptions.
Only when I discovered that they were all authentic images and not modern fakes made to look old, did they regain some of their worth. (The clown twins with the coil was most disturbing to me – how is that a real picture? Creepy.)
The second half is considerably better than the first. Thanks to an at least sort of unexpected plot revelation, the end managed to somewhat salvage my impression of the novel. But in its entirety Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children lived up to my initial impression of it: not my cup of tea.
The main reason why I couldn’t get into this story is the unlikeability of the protagonist, Jacob. He appears to be a mere tool to tell this story instead of an actual character. On the rare occasions where he does display an ounce of personality, he comes off as a spoiled brat, a whiner and just an all-round dull individual. This is kind of the point I guess, but for me it missed its mark.
Riggs seems to have thought that the way you write a realistic character is to give them as many flaws as a non-fictional person. But to me – in this case – it rendered the protagonist very very unlikeable.
The romance between him and Emma was completely unnecessary and actually quite inappropriate. This is one of the reasons I feel the story would better have been told by a younger protagonist (let’s say 12 or so) and written towards children instead of young adults, giving Emma and Jacob a profound connection without having them randomly sucking face here and there. To me, (someone who loves romantic stories!), this was quite off-putting.
I had expected a timeless setting, loads of mystery, a dash of horror and most of all: a boundless originality. What I got was an at times foulmouthed tale framed in boringly normal modern times with a romance that should have never been.
I can’t say it’s bad, per se (I can certainly understand why some do appreciate it), but I personally did not enjoy reading it at all – thus: 2 stars.