I gave my husband a few choices of audiobook to listen to on our car trip and he chose this one. Being neurotic like I am, I told him to look up the images so he’d know what they were when referenced. Being forgetful like he is, he didn’t and ended up downloading a PDF of them all a half hour into the drive. At least we had them.
Jacob’s grandpa has always been telling him outrageous stories. He says he grew up on a small Welsh island in a children’s home, which is easy enough to believe. What’s hard for Jacob is the stories of the other children in the home; the levitating girl, the skinny boy who could lift heavy rocks: there’s no way they’re true. But after Jacob sees his grandfather murdered, he starts to wonder; what if it was real? Jacob has to know and goes to the island his grandfather lived on to find ‘the bird’ and ‘keep himself safe.’ But the question remains, safe from what?
I have to say, I was kind of disappointed. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this book was too slow-paced for me. The exposition took way too long, and the big climax wasn’t as great as I was anticipating. It built itself up a lot for the sequel. I still like the idea of the photos as a way of moving the plot forward and I think this will make a good movie (because what book isn’t turning into a movie these days?) but it didn’t do it for me. I listened to this as an audiobook and some of you suggested that it might limit my enjoyment of the book. Maybe that’s what did it.
The non-peculiars in the book bothered me. Jacob, for one, did not act his age in my opinion. He was supposed to be seventeen, but acted like a fourteen year old. His parents were very negatively portrayed and I felt most adults were meant to be stupid, which really upset me. The only adult I liked was Martin and, well, I won’t ruin it, but he isn’t able to redeem all the other adults in the book. Miss Peregrine was great and the peculiar children were fantastic, but the other adults really bothered me.
I didn’t really have a favorite character. Jacob was not likable to me because he was whiny, Emma seemed desperate, and all the other characters were under developed. I’m sure if I read on, they would be more flushed out and I might have a preference, but for now, none.
My heart went out to Emma. She was so in love with Abe and thought they could have a life together, but she suffered from an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ situation. I wonder if she knew Abe was married or even dating before he sent her the picture of his daughter. I’d like to think he was honest with her, but we don’t really know. I had past relationships fall apart because of distance and communication and it can be hard. (Luckily, my husband and I were able to overcome it.)
I liked when Jacob was first shown around the children’s home. Riggs did a great job of explaining the world of the Peculiars and the children were so animated about their life with Miss Peregrine. I loved it. The upbeat nature was easy to draw a parallel from when the book took a darker turn toward the end.
Okay, this is a total spoiler so skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know. I was so upset when Martin died! He might have been my favorite character, but he didn’t have a large role in the book so I feel like I can’t say that. As I said earlier, he was the only respectable adult so I don’t have high expectations for adults going forward in the series. It seemed really frivolous and upset me a lot.
In many ways, this book is the classic quest story that we’ve seen so many times in YA literature (full disclosure, I got this idea from the LitLovers readers’ guide). The hero discovers something/is thrust into a situation. Because of this, he/she discovers an inner strength that transforms him/her. Harry Potter, Katniss Everdene, Tris Prior, Thomas (Maze Runner). Truthfully, I feel like it’s getting old.
Writer’s Takeaway: I loved that this was a visual book. I believe non-readers have a perception that books are dry and boring without pictures or visual elements. While the later might be true, book lovers will agree our books are anything but boring. I hope adding a visual element to his books in such a unique way will draw in those who were more attracted to comic books and graphic novels for their visual appeal. I’ve started thinking about ways I could make my book more visually appealing.
Overall okay. I liked the pictures, but the characters fell well short of my expectations and the plot lacked closure to me. Three out of Five stars.
This book fulfills Foreign Country: Wales (UK) for my Where Are You Reading? Challenge.
Please remember to vote for the next book in my Read-Along series! Voting ends Monday, 25-August-14. Read more about it here.
Until next time, write on.
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