Merchant’s Ransom: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

July 13, 2014 Review 44 ★★★

Merchant’s Ransom: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Quirk Books
Source: Purchased
Pages: 352
Release Date: June 7th 2011
Series: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #1
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
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,  will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

bec (2)

Major Selling Points:


Horror is not something I read often, but when I do read it I want to be creeped out. I want my skin to crawl. I want to feel like I might have nightmares (while being in awe of how awesome and terrifying the monsters are). I thought that MISS PEREGRINE’S, with its photos, would be a creeptastic horror novel. And at the start, it was a bit scary. But overall… It’s completely different to what I was expecting. Not so creepy.


Every now and then I dabble in manga, occasionally graphic novels, but I’ve never read a story that utilises photographs in the telling of the tale. It was a really unique experience and I actually enjoyed it. The photos certainly added to the atmosphere of the tale.


The pacing of MISS PEREGRINE’S is sort of slow. The start  is great, fast and scary and creepy and holy crap. After that though… not much happens. They introduce characters and the peculiar children, and stuff but nothing else really. Until we near the end where it picks up again. There was a lot more historical elements than horror, and the story did have some interesting twists. I have a feeling things will pick up more in HOLLOW CITY.


Ransom Riggs writing was pretty good. I love the descriptions, the way he built the characters and the world. All of that. It was very easy to picture everything in my head. The photos were a bonus to good story telling.



Jacob is our MC and narrator and is sort of a boring kid. He’s not popular, he lives in a well off family. The only interesting thing about him was the stories about his grandfather and the peculiar children really. And I’m not complaining about his boriness. He’s still realistic. I’m just not used to reading about such average people (in a not so average world)


I am not too sure what to think of Emma. I liked her confidence and personality at the start, but as things went on I became more iffy. Just the way she acted once the romance came into it made my opinion of her drop a little. Her powers were cool though!

Miss Peregrine

Now Miss Peregrine is an interesting character. Your typical old bird looking after a rag tag bunch of children, but also more. I want to know more about her. Her abilities, her past, and everything. Same goes with the rest of the kids who I’m not mentioning here.


I’m not really feeling the romance in this book. Not at all. There isn’t that much romance anyway, but still I just can’t get behind this couple. I don’t know why but I just eeeeeeehhhhhhhh.


  • This book x more horror
  • Jacob x not Emma (I just find this relationship kind of creepy okay)
  • HOLLOW CITY x my tbr pile
Rating Report
Overall: 3.2

44 Responses to “Merchant’s Ransom: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs”

  1. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    Excellent review Bec, I was actually looking at this at the bookstore the other day. If you really want horror + pictures, Asylum by Madeleine Roux might be your thing! I saw it at dymocks and it looks too creepy for me. I haven’t read this book yet though, but it totally sounds up my alley. It reminds me of Shutter Island for some reason.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Indulgence Insider #2 – Blogoversary Week!

    • Bec

      Thanks! I’ve seen Asylum on goodreads and that cover… NOPE. I don’t know if I could handle something that scary looking… which is why I’ll probably end up picking it up XD

      I hope you get the chance to read this someday then!

  2. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I just bought a copy of this recently but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I have to admit, though, I fully expected it to be creepy. I’m a bit disappointed that it isn’t. But the photos will surely keep my interest.
    Can’t wait.
    Great review!

    • Bec

      There are creepy moments but not many. It is disappointing :/ The photos are really cool though!

  3. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    Hah! I’m very curious about this book but it’s a shame that you were a little disappointed. I did check out the book one day at the bookstore and the pictures spooked me a bit though :P

    • Bec

      Some of the pictures are a little creepy! Got a bit of a shock stumbling across them late at night XD

  4. Emily @ Forever Literary

    I absolutely loved this book, so it was interesting to read your mixed review! The creepiness was one of my favorite things about the story, so it’s too bad that you didn’t find it to be very effective. I agree about the romance though – it is a little bit weird. I know it’s intentionally weird to add conflict to the plot, but the weirdness still nags at the back of my mind.
    Emily @ Forever Literary recently posted…Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

    • Bec

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! The creepy things I read/watch are significantly darker and feature a lot more monsters and things, so maybe I was setting my expectations too high.

      The weirdness of the romance… it’s almost unnecessary no matter how intentional it is.

    • Bec

      haha yeah, for me though I just wanted something a tad scarier XD I hope you enjoy Hollow City!

    • Bec

      We must have great minds methinks ;) It was a weird sort of middle-grade-but-not-quite level. I think having more monsters and less creepy romance would have made it feel more YA/more enjoyable.

  5. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    It’s funny, I’ve always felt a bit iffy about this one, never quite sure if it was the story for me. I don’t like creepy books all that much (unless they’re like middle-grade creepy LOL) so yeah it left me unsure. Reading how you found it very…average makes me think I’ll pass. At least for the time being. It just doesn’t seem like the kind of read that draws you in and holds tight all the way through. I really wish you’d enjoyed it more though! Excellent review :)
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Harry Potter Month (2)

    • Bec

      I tend to love creepy things because I find them interesting… unless it’s ghosts. Ghost I just NOPE (and yet some of my favourite books/shows involve ghosts XD) But this was… on the better side of meh. I’m hoping the second book is better at drawing me in!

  6. Olivia (Bookcomet)

    I’m pretty sure my thoughts pretty much mirror yours. I really expected to like it more than I did, I’m into creepy books and I love it when there are extra stuff in the book like photographs. I think my main problem was the bore-factor. Great review!
    Olivia (Bookcomet) recently posted…Prodigy (Marie Lu) Inspired Outfit

    • Bec

      This was the first book I’ve read that featured extra photographs and I think I want to try more! But yeah, there were some boring scenes in this, much to our dismay :/ It had so much potential.

  7. aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

    I liked it too (I just finished reading it recently). I didn’t think it was creepy though, in fact, I found it more funny than scary. Also, I found the relationship aspect of this book, weird. I know I should get past the facts of it, but I can’t. Eck.
    aly @ My Heart Hearts Books recently posted…Behind the Scenes (Review)

    • Bec

      There were definitely more funny scenes than scary scenes!

      And I feel the same about the romance. It should work fine but I just can’t ship it.

    • Bec

      haha I have so many books like that! It took me a long time just to remember to read this XD


  8. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    My rating was pretty much the same. ;) I think my problem, though, was that I read Asylum by Madeleine Roux which WAS creepy and awesome and I looooved it. It had pictures in it too. But I read Miss Ps afterwards, and it felt kind of flat and boring. I feel bad! Most people adore it! But the scare factor just wasn’t there. And I can’t help but wonder why Jacob was 16?? He acted like 12. And weren’t most of the random kids about 12? The ages just all felt a little off.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…I explain my Violinist Past and review Broken Strings by Maria Farrer

    • Bec

      People keep mentioning this Asylum and I think I need to read it… The cover scares me XD

      Jacob did act quite young! It was hard to figure out the ages.

  9. Kirsty-Marie

    Firstly, I LIVE IN WALES. Secondly, this is £5 something on Amazon so I’m probably going to buy it now. I’ll probably be disappointed as the creepy disappears and the romance (though, there’s not much right? So I can live with that.) It’s the pictures though, I just want to read it for that, should be fun. :)
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: The Winners Curse

    • Bec

      You are the fist person from Wales I have ever spoken to (that I know of) XD That sounds like a good deal! Even if this is disappointing, it’s still pretty good. And yeah, there isn’t that much romance.

    • Bec

      Thanks! A lot of people enjoyed it more than me. I can see why too! But yeah, that romance… it just doesn’t fit somehow.

  10. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    This one didn’t really work for me, but I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it more than I did Bec! I was definitely a really creepy book! I too found Jacob & Emma’s romance to be a bit disturbing, so I’m glad to hear I wasn’t the only one! ;)

    Thanks for sharing, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…The Merciless

    • Bec

      It’s good to hear other people have thoughts similar to mine! (even if you didn’t love it) I thought everyone loved this so it’s good to discover that’s not quite true.

      The romance was disturbing. So disturbing. I still can’t get behind it.


  11. Sarah P.

    I’m not ashamed to say that I bought this book because of the pictures! Then after I browsed through all of them, the book suddenly got buried by all my other TBR books. Haha! Anyway, now that I know that the pictures add to the whole reading experience, I’m so going to look for my copy and start reading this soon, in earnest this time. It’s such a shame that it’s not as creepy as you want it to be.
    Sarah P. recently posted…Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5) by Miranda Kenneally

    • Bec

      haha that’s why I bought it! And it got buried for a good couple of months too XD

      The lack of creepiness is a real shame :( The pictures were great though.

      I hope you enjoy it!

    • Bec

      I won’t be surprised if I forget a lot of the details. There’s not much that really stood out :/ Miss Peregrine was really interesting! As was the world.

  12. Angie

    I feel the exact same about the “couple” I can’t get behind that either. I do want to say that Hollow City is so much better then this book. I really enjoyed it and thought it really does make the story just that much more!
    Angie recently posted…Project Disney- Mary Poppins

    • Bec

      Yay! That’s good to hear about Hollow City! The story in Miss Peregrine’s was missing just one little thing to make it really good.

    • Bec

      This book is on a lot of people’s recommendation lists. And despite the issues I had with it I did enjoy it.

      Thanks :)

  13. Jessica @ Strung Out On Books

    I couldn’t really be on board with Jacob and Emma’s relationship either. It was kinda like dating your grandmother in my opinion, since Emma was once in love with his grandpa. I don’t know… like you said, it was weird. I agree with you completely about the book getting slow and Jacob being boring, but Hollow City was so much better. There was more action, and Jacob becomes less… average, I guess. I don’t want to spoil anything, though. :) Great review!
    Jessica @ Strung Out On Books recently posted…Review: Random by Tom Leveen

    • Bec

      haha it was exactly like that! Dating your almost-grandma is really, really weird no matter how you look at it.

      That is excellent to hear! Might have to try and get my hands on Hollow City sooner rather than later then :D

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