Welcome back everyone! I’m back (so soon) with another review! I’m trying harder to update regularly by scheduling posts that you always have content to read and so far so good… I think. Might be too soon to say so.
In other news, I’ve made myself a GoodReads account. I’ve tried to find all of the books I’ve read and own so that anyone who takes a gander at my profile can see what I was reading before Pending, while also letting you see what my progress is on whatever book I may happen to be reading. I also think it’s facinating how you’ll now be able to see how many books I read ahead before I post anything. I’ve let myself fall behind what I originally planned to do (which was two books ahead at all times), but I’m slowly catching back up.
If you don’t have a GoodReads account, you can also follow me on Twitter to keep up with my progress on whatever book I’m reading.
You’ll also notice that I’m a part of the 2015 Good Reads reading challenge. Since I just joined and my goal is 60 books before 2016, I’m already 27 books behind schedule.
Hah. Of course.
If I keep the pace I’m at now though, I should catch up rather quickly. If my math is correct, I need to read about 3 books a week to meet my goal- please correct me if I’m wrong. I’ll have to try and squeeze a few extra books a week in as well so I can catch up! Twenty-Seven books behind is unacceptable!
Also- since I believe it should be addressed, you’ll see on my GoodReads profile that I’m not reading the following book in this series next. The next book will be named at the bottom of this review, but the reasoning behind reading this next book is because I’ve been dying to start it, and I felt I needed a small break from the world of Peculiar Children for a few days before I began Hollow City. That does not have anything to do with how this review is going to go.
Speaking of review, we should get to that now that all the announcements are done with.
So here’s a quick summary for you with minimal spoilers:
This novel is certainly an interesting one to say the least. Our primary character is a sixteen year old boy named Jacob Portman, who grew up with his Grandfather (Abraham Portman) regaling him with tall tales of growing up during WWII with peculiar children with unique gifts and glorious battles with hideous monsters- himself always being the victor of course. Jacob’s life seems relatively normal- besides the fact that he’s only got a single friend and he’s purposely trying to get fired from his job. But then- a traumatic event blindsides Jacob’s family, which leads him to a remote island off the coast of Wales (whoa, talk about hop, skip, jump Rachel- sorry guys) where he’s thrown head first into a dangerous adventure where many lives hang in the balance. Jacob’s suddenly led to the truth- maybe his Grandfather’s tales weren’t so tall after all.
Now that our synopsis is out of the way, I’m going to just throw this out there.
This is the type of story that’s definitely been done before.
Human beings with special abilities living underneath the roof of a more powerful human with even more powerful abilities fighting for either good or bad then the underdog stumbles in like “the f*ck is going on” and eventually does a thing yadda, yadda, yadda.
I will say though, once I came to this realization it did not sway the fact that for myself- I could still enjoy this book. You could even say that the last book I reviewed, Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey is one of those “done before” themes as well- but damn it I still read it and I still enjoyed it.
What saved this book for me, was:
One: Austin’s mother recommended it to me. I wanted to give it a fair chance and see why she was so adamant that I read it. By the way, thanks Suzy!
Two: I review books. The point of reviewing books is to also potentially read bad books.
Three: Despite that this theme has been done before, it’s done in a way that kept my attention throughout the novel.
The Author, Ransom Riggs (AKA Sir Coolest pen name ever), includes photos that have been handpicked from collections around the world to tell Jacob’s story and bring each of the characters to life for the reader. There is no questioning how Miss Peregrine might look, or any other character for that matter because Riggs makes sure that you have that visual already mapped out for you. Those photos aren’t just for assitance with imagery, they play a large part in Jacob’s adventure and provide clues to the truth behind his Grandfather’s tales.
Besides Jacob, this book hosts a group of characters with quirks of their own. Even though we don’t often see some of these characters for too long of a time, each personality is brought to life through their portraits and their actions. The vocabulary used across each character is also relatively accurate to whatever ‘place‘ they might be from, which was appreciated by a nitpicker like myself. There’s nothing more annoying to me than the author ignoring a character’s roots by neglecting the proper vocabulary. And I know this is super vague but if I told you what this ‘place’ might be I would spoil the whole book for you.
As for what genre I would put this under? I’d regard this as a book suitable for young adult and up, since there’s certainly a constant undertone of death and a speckling of swearing here and there that would prevent me from reading it to my niece and nephews. It’s definitely fiction, but whether or not it’s fantasy, mystery, or horror eludes me.
Possibly all three? I wouldn’t object to the idea since sticking a book into one genre is similar to saying there’s only one shade of green.
Would I recommend this book? Of course. If the idea of it being a possible retelling doesn’t bother you, I think this book would be suitable for a wide audience since it doesn’t seem to reside under one category. It’s also quite and easy (and quick) read, being only 352 pages. I managed to finish it over three days, all of which I worked a six or seven hour shift where I crammed about twenty minutes of reading between bites of food on my break. If you’re a slower reader, it’ll probably take you about five days- still not very long.
I gave this book a four out of five stars on goodreads, but I would have rated it 3/5 if it were an option. One star was removed for the “been there” plot, and half of a star for the slight lack of detail. I know I said earlier that the photos provide you with the visual without leaving anything up to interpretation, but that doesn’t mean that a description should be left lacking in text. I found it rather unnerving that I never got that great of a visual of these creatures Jacob’s grandfather spoke of simply because the descriptions were rather vague. And there wasn’t a photo to be used for this creature either.
The next book up for review will be: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas.
Be sure to check back for that!
Thanks for reading!