Jacob has always been very close to his grandfather Abe who told him all kinds of stories of his childhood in an orphanage led by Miss Peregrine, among children that all had very special gifts. Only as Jacob grew older, he stopped believing in those stories. Then his grandfather is attacked and Jacob sees a strange monster that nobody else is able to see. He is unsettled, to say the least and convinces his father to head to Cairnholm, the island where his grandfather’s orphanage was, to find out more about his past and to hopefully be able to separate fact from fiction.
I was really looking forward to reading this. With the old photographs that Riggs actually collected and that served as a starting point for his story, and then as illustrations, the book makes for a gorgeous package. Unfortunately I couldn’t really get into the story.
I don’t know what kept me more from enjoying the book. The fact that the story feels very much like an old one despite some creative ideas, mostly due to the underdeveloped characters? Or the fact that the pacing is far from smooth, feeling like a ride on a bull in a rodeo, only in slow motion? Or the fact that the way the photographs were worked into the story was often so clumsy that I wished they hadn’t been there in the first place, although I thought they were really nice?
Those are some major issues to have with any book. In this case, things got even worse because I found the central romance incredibly icky. Jacob hooks up with his grandfather’s ex-girlfriend who looks his age due to time shenanigans but is actually 80 years old. Which is like Twilight level bad with the age difference, with the added yuck of a faintly incestuous leaning.
This probably sounds like I hated it. But that would be putting it way too strongly. I didn’t particularly like it, but for a while I actually wondered whether I wanted to read the two sequels to the story, trying to parse how much of it was my inclination to completism and how much actual interest. In the end, I decided that watching the movie adaptation would be enough for me to get closure to a story that simply never grabbed me.
Summarizing: maybe it works better for you, but I really don’t get the hype.