Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
2 stars - started off great, then things went all kinds of wrong
ALR Blue - no animal characters
The first half of this book is wonderful. The prose is lyrical, the atmosphere spooky. Mr. Riggs has collected old, and rather odd, photos of children and built characters based upon them. We first meet the narrator, Jacob, recalling conversations with his grandfather about the fantastical and peculiar children he lived with during World War II.
There's the floating girl, the invisible boy, the girl who can create fire. Jacob is sure that granddad has been exaggerating his experiences as a form of entertainment. But when Granddad dies suddenly, Jacob undertakes a quest to find out if the stories were real or fiction. He and his dad head to the island which purports to house the Home for Peculiar Children.
Jacob finds the house, but it is a molding wreck. Abandoned since a bomb landed near it during the war. He sets to explore it nevertheless.
The gleam led me around a corner and into a small room with part of the ceiling caved in. Daylight streamed through the hole onto a mound of splintered floorboards and broken glass from which rose coils of silty dust, pieces of torn carpet plastered here and there like scraps of desiccated meat. Beneath the debris I could hear the scrabble of tiny feet, some rodentine dark-dweller that had survived the implosion of its world. In the midst of it all lay the demolished trunk, photographs scattered around like confetti.
Good stuff, right? So what happened? What started as a moody, interesting story, suddenly deteriorated into some sort of young reader styled fantasy action adventure. Seriously. Like it was two different books. I barely made it through to the end.