I really wanted to like this book. It sat in my "To Read" list for months hyped up until I could get my hands on a copy. After reading it though, I was left feeling a bit unfulfilled.
Photography and photojournalism has been a hobby of mine for quite some time now. I was really taken with the idea that this book was created with characters based around real people in old photographs with a creepy feel to them, à la Diane Arbus. It was a great, original idea, just poor execution as far as I'm concerned.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is marketed as being somewhat as part of the horror genre but in my opinion, it is grossly mislabeled. Mysterious, sure, but not scary or horrifying at all.
Also, I didn't find myself connecting with any of the characters at all. Perhaps there were just too many characters jammed into a relatively short novel that none of them were really given the attention they deserved to be established. You'd think that the peculiar children which have been around for years would have a little more substance to them, besides just their "abilities." There is almost nothing said with regards to how they even feel living the same day over and over again for upwards of 60 years, which if it were me, I'd have a thought or two about it.
The exception is the main character, Jacob who is just generally unlikeable for the most part.
By the end, I was basically just skimming so I could close it and be done with it. It almost felt like the author got that feeling too, like it just had to be done (perhaps to meet a deadline or something) and less attention was paid to making a book with a quality ending, which less face it, plays a big role in how many perceive the entire book on the whole. At that point, we've invested something into the novel and expect to have gotten something, some kind of fulfillment in return, but it just wasn't there for me. Oh well, it happens. The photos were enjoyable though.
I'll be honest, had I not found out that Robert Galbraith was actually J.K. Rowling, I probably never would have read this one. Not that the description isn't interesting, I just have so much on my To-Read lists that it probably wouldn't have even occurred to me.
This is the first J.K. Rowling novel I've read since the Harry Potter series, which I, like many, am completely in love with. As far as The Cuckoo's Calling goes, I had very high hopes, maybe too high. The Harry Potter universe was completely new territory, an entirely new world. It's difficult to stand up to the calibre of that kind of creativity.
That being said, Rowling is a truly a painter with words. She is known for creating characters that leap off of the page. Every action is thoroughly described for a most complete picture in the mind of the reader. While this is no Harry Potter book, her gift is undeniable.
One thing I had trouble with with this book, however, is towards the middle part it seemed like Cormoran Strike had jumped to all these conclusions without the "evidence" actually being fleshed out in the story, or Cormoran's thought process being outlined. It made me feel like I was missing something, like I'd accidently skipped a page or two. This can probably be attributed to the fact that I watch way too many procedural crime television shows in which each step in following the case (and subsequent storyline) is followed. It made me, as the reader, feel a little bit stupid that I wasn't following or that I was missing something. That's just a small qualm I had though. I just felt like I should note it.
Bottom line, I enjoyed the book and it's interesting storyline for the most part. Like I said, Rowling is truly a gifted writer.