Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs Review
By Nina Claudia Soukhanovskii
“I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. The first of these came as a terrible shock and, like anything that changes you forever, split my life into halves: Before and After.”
Terms to Know:
Peculiar- Having a special ability that a normal person does not have.
Loop- A play on time which causes a single day to repeat over and over again; only those for who the loop was made for are conscious of it. For everybody else, it just a normal day, every day.
Hollowgast- A terrible creature that reversed time to a point where its soul didn’t even exist, making it soulless and heartless. Can live for thousands of years. Feed on animals, and human blood.
Wight- If a hollowgast drinks enough human blood, then it becomes a wight. Wights can pass for humans. Have no pupils, just blank orbs, but otherwise look just like humans. Act on instinct. Fond of dramatic gestures.
Ymbryne- A female who can manipulate time and take the form of a bird (for only birds can manipulate time)
Meet the Characters:
Jacob Portman- An average sixteen-year-old that spent his childhood on a positive note with his grandfather. Embarks on a out-of-this-world adventure to figure out his grandfather’s past and connect it to the present and his own life.
Abraham Portman- Jacob’s grandfather. Tells him many stories of his youth that fascinate Jacob when he is little. Is thought to go crazy because of the trauma he experienced “in war”. Has many secrets that Jacob must uncover, including the fact that he was also peculiar and lived at Miss Peregrine’s home at one point in life.
Franklin Porter- Jacob’s father, and the son of Abraham Porter. Does not believe Abraham, thinks he is crazy. Thinks his son is crazy when he starts backing up what Abraham said. Always starts writing books and then gets discouraged because he is beat out by someone else.
Dr. Golan- Jacob’s psychiatrist who later turns out to be something that Jacob never even suspected. Follows him to the island and messes things up for quite a while.
Miss Peregrine- A ymbryne. Takes the form of a Peregrine. Headmistress of the house that she created to take in peculiars.
Emma Bloom- A peculiar girl, lives with Miss Peregrine. Peculiarity: can create fire with her bare hands. Had a soft spot for Abraham Portman when he was alive and living at the home. Finds Jacob to her taste as well.
A Summary With No Spoilers:
Jacob grew up listening to his grandfather’s stories about children with 2 mouths and levitating powers. His grandfather would always sit with him and tell him fantastic stories of a house where these magic children lived. His grandfather would always shows Jacob photos to top off the stories. And, he would always ask, “Do you believe me, Yakob? No, you don’t believe, do you?”
Jacob always carefully considered the stories and photos. And, as a little, open-minded boy, he said, “I believe you.”
However, as Jacob grew older, he found that his grandfather’s stories of monsters with eight tongues that haunted him and children that lived under the safety of a bird were just something to entertain him when he was younger. At least, he believed so.
And when his grandfather began to panic and repeat over and over that the monsters had found him and that they would take him any moment, Jacob began to get worried that his grandfather was becoming insane. After an especially perplexing conversation on the phone in which Abraham began to inquire where the key to his gun drawer was located, Jacob decided to stop by and check on his grandfather.
To his utter surprise and horror, Jacob found his grandfather’s house a wreck. Drawers were hanging open, doors ripped out of the doorways, and the furniture in shreds. Jacob ran out to the backyard to find his grandfather lying in a puddle of blood, half-dead.
“Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man’s grave. September third, 1940. Emerson—the letter. Tell them what happened, Yakob,” whispered Abraham to his grandson before passing on right before his eyes.
Just as Jacob decides to leave, he sees it. A black monster with eight tongues, it’s beady eyes swirling with mist. It stands behind the bushes, as though watching and waiting for the right time to strike. Jacob faints.
Devastated, scared, worried, and troubled, Jacob tries to find the answer to the phrases, only convincing his parents that he has gone crazy. They take him to a psychiatrist who soothes Jacob by twisting the words to make it seem as though Jacob had just seen a figment of his own imagination. He suggest Jacob takes a vacation.
But what Jacob doesn’t know is that what his grandfather had been telling him was true. The children exist. The monsters exist. The Bird exists, and so does the home where all of them live.
Bit by bit, Jacob learns about his grandfather’s past, and what that means to him now. He learns of his own peculiarity, makes friends, and finds his true foes. And when the house is endangered, it is up to Jacob to save the children and the Bird from the world.
I am giving this book a 9/10 stars. Everything about the plot was wonderful. The children were so vividly described that it felt like I had met them personally. The plot was action-packed, and kept me on the edge of my seat as I read. And the mystery-like parts of the book kept me wondering what would happen next at all times. A bonus is the realistic photos that are included throughout the book, for they make you feel like you are actually in the story and are going through the emotions with the characters. The only part that kept me from giving me the book the full 10 stars is the ending. I won’t spoil it, but I will just warn you that the ending cuts you off like a slap in the face. It’s so abrupt, that you can’t help by running to the library to get the second book right away, which is what I am currently doing… Enjoy!