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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - REVIEW

Yesterday, I finished Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Random Riggs' first YA novel. I was very excited to read it as it's premise was a little bit different: The story is supported throughout by original vintage photographs that are strange, intriguing, and a little bit creepy!

It is a dark fantasy novel that starts off very strongly, if a little morbidly, then falls into a whirlwind of confusion and ridiculousness. Jacob Portman once idolised his Grandpa, and believed in the fantastical stories he told him of his childhood in an orphanage in Wales. However,  after watching his beloved Grandpa die from an attack by an unidentified creature, Jacob is thrown into a world of mental turmoil and horrific nightmares. No longer able to trust what is real and what isn't after witnessing something he can't explain in the forest, his parents enlist the help of a psychologist, Dr Golan, to help Jacob recover and come to terms with the tragedy. Here, the journey into the strange world of this novel truely begins. Jacob enters a time warp, meets a load of 80 year olds stuck in children's bodies, makes out with his Grandpa's ex and flouts the authority of a woman who turns into a bird. Not to mention one hell of a lengthy "final showdown" and an un-fulfilling ending.

The one word I think really sums up Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is "strange"! It's at one minute a Gothic Horror, the next minute a fantasy worthy of an audience far younger than (I think) is aimed at, and then the next minute it's some kind of Twilight incestuous romance. Very odd indeed. I found myself continuously confused as to who this book was trying to please. The romance never really took off, the horror wasn't very atmospheric, and the juvenile fantasy probably wouldn't be read by a younger audience unless guardian's approve of 11 year olds reading profanities on every other page.

I did, however, like the use of the photographs, and felt they worked and added something to the narrative. I think I will always remember turning a page to find the most unnerving picture ever over-leaf. (A picture of Jacobs "grandpa" asleep with a gun, if you read it). However, I do think the use of photos is what caused the haphazard theme. It feels as though the author lined up the photos and created the story around them, no matter how wacky, as opposed to finding images to suit a story already created. Not that there's anything wrong with that. There's probably a very limited selection of vintage photos in the world to be picking and choosing to suit! I just think the story is very telling of the method.

All in all, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a good read if you're after something a little different, dark and unchallenging. But it's no classic.

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