Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children…
I swiped a copy of “Peculiar Children” not just because it has an enticing title & luxuriously thick pages, but also because it was voted “best book of 2011” & was still sitting on the NYTimes bestseller shelf when first I saw it. With a pedigree like that it’s gotta be worth a scan. It starts with Jacob– a worthlessly spoiled 16yr old– fondly remembering the bizzarre stories his grandfather used to tell him as a child. This of course triggers all sorts of fuzzy “Princess Bride”-esque scenes to satisfyingly flicker in front of your mind’s eye. Things only get better when the grandfather is gruesomely murdered. His last words, wispered while bleeding out in Jacob’s arms, are a mystery harking back to the fantastic stories of years ago. Were those stories true? Jacob, determined to solve the mystery, gets some help from his shrink and convinces his father to set off in search of answers. Their destination? A mist filled, crater shaped island off the coast of Wales. So far, so good.
Once on the island, Riggs tosses in some tantalizing details, adding meat to the mystery she’s constructing. Thus far, we’ve been led to believe we’d been exploring a normal, workaday world that might have a bit of believable peculiarity nestled in one of it’s forgotten corners. But then we meet the children & Riggs decides it’s ok to take a giant, Hairy Potter-like dump on the page. Time travelling bad guys come crawling out of the mist. Flaming fingers & flying children become the norm…. I actually stopped at one point, scratched my head & wondered where the thrilling mystery thread went & why we’d entered a flimsy fantasy adventureland?
I finished it out of pure stubborness, but don’t feel satisfied & certainly won’t bother with the sequel.