Description Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1) by Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

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Source: Book of the Month for Goodreads group, Paranormal Addicts & Newbies


There are a few things about this description that I don’t particularly care for. First off, only about half of it really tells me anything regarding what the book is about. That part is fine, although I’m not a fan of coined phrases such as “As our story opens…”

What really bugs me is that I feel like I’m getting spoon-fed with some redundancy. The “A strange collection of very curios photographs” non-sentence is acceptable enough, and I’d expect to see some elaboration on that later in the description, simply because it’s unique. However, the comments regarding “an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience” and “A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography” aren’t really both required. Pick one, combine them somehow, something. Don’t leave them both in there separated by a description of the actual plot.

I also walk away from reading this description with one key takeaway:

The editor/author/publisher feels very strongly that you should read this book because it is “unforgettable,” “thrilling,” “horrific,” “spine-tingling,” and “haunting.”

I feel as if the only point of this description is to drop adjectives and adverbs about what a book in this genre (horror, etc) should be by definition. I would expect that by default out of this kind of novel—a description should tell me about what I wouldn’t already have assumed. And honestly, with so many of those kinds of descriptors, I’m now concerned that whoever wrote this description felt the need to emphasize that point because, maybe, the book doesn’t quite deliver that without being told that it’s supposed to.

Don’t get me wrong, this might be a perfectly enjoyable and wonderfully written book. I skimmed through some reviews of the book after finishing up the rest of this post and they seem to be all over the place. Several are critical of the book’s ability to hold itself together, the fact that it lost its creepiness pretty quickly (ahem, see last sentence of previous paragraph), and the fact that it ended up being boring/childish. I discovered that it may be made into a movie, however, so maybe it’s worth a shot.

PS – that title and series title combination makes for a REALLY long blog post title when I follow my usual pattern …

Posted on August 13, 2014, in Description Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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