Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Miss Peregine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

Well, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children left something to be desired, I’m afraid to say.  From the outside, it seemed like the perfect little horror story to curl up with on the cold and rainy day that I chose to read it.  The macabre pictures were thoroughly old and creepy; a few actually made me even feel a bit squeamish.  It started out interesting enough, and continued on, if not quite as horrific as the illustrations would have suggested to this unsuspecting reader.  I could deal with that. 

What I didn’t appreciate at all was the way it ended.  Things were going along quite reasonably until I neared maybe the last 50-75 pages.  It was around that marker that I realized there was no way this story was going to have a cohesive ending with so few pages left.  I just couldn’t imagine it all being tied up neatly within such a short period of time. And I wasn’t wrong.

Now, I understand the theory of leaving the reader hanging a bit at the end.  It is usually a rather effective way to get them to go out and buy the next book when it is published.  It’s a strategy that can be frustrating for a really enthusiastic reader like me who falls in love with my favorite characters and can hardly stand the suspense of waiting months or even years to find out what has become of them.  But I get it.  I don’t blame the writer.  Not everyone is as loyal as I am to a good series.  Not everyone would tune in for the next installment if the current book ended neatly and left them with no questions or concerns about the future of the characters they’d been reading about.

What I don’t appreciate is when an ending feels forced—when the writing, that had so far been pretty great, suddenly seems to become stilted and boring.  I do not appreciate it when the ending doesn’t seem to match the rest of the story, and when the final choice the main character makes goes against everything you thought you’d learned about them in the first two thirds of the story.  It makes me sit back and wonder what on earth happened.  Why did this character suddenly start behaving in such an uncharacteristic fashion?  Furthermore, it leaves me wondering if I’m even going to like the next book and whether or not I even want to know what happens next, because the character has changed so abruptly that I don’t recognize them anymore and I’m not entirely sure if I like this new character much.

So that is why I’m just not entirely sure that I should recommend this book to you.  If you don’t mind a book that starts of great but has a crappy ending, then go for it.  I’m not sure I’ll read the next one myself.  When I initially finished the first book I figured I would read the next one just to be sure the previous ending was a fluke, but after further thinking I am just not sure that I want to possibly subject myself to being so disappointed again, if it turns out that Riggs just writes horrible endings.  I want to believe that this was just a horrible decision on the part of the editor who thought that series and trilogies are just more popular nowadays and so they convinced Riggs to divide one book into multiple books, but I’m not sure that I believe it the more I think on it.  I guess only time will tell if my irritation will be overcome by my curiosity.

No comments:

Post a Comment