Book Review: ‘Library of Souls’ by Ransom Riggs
I first picked this series up eighteen months ago – although I’ll admit I had wanted to read it for far longer. “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs is the first book in this series, and with a picture of a levitating little girl on the cover, I’d always thought it had to be in the horror genre. Or at least in the so-scary-I-wouldn’t-sleep-for-a-week genre. I finally decided to pick the book up and see what it was about, and to my surprise, it was exactly the kind of book I love! It quickly became one of my favorites of 2014, and I eagerly grabbed the second book that had just been released, and gobbled it up. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I obsessively checked the local library every. single. day. (a.k.a. stalked) until they got the newest book. I was doing cartwheels that I got to borrow it first! Woo hoo! “Library of Souls” is the third and final book in the series. Ok, enough about that – on to the review!
The adventures that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued with Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls.
As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.
They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all.
Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography.
The Short: 3 out of 5 stars
The Long: Ok, let’s start with the good. First off, I like Ransom Riggs’ writing style and I still love, love, love the idea behind the entire series. The inspiration for Book 1 were old photos that Mr. Riggs ran across a few years ago, many of which depicted people in odd situations or performing an optical illusion. He created his story of ‘peculiar children’ which quickly became a best seller.
While I was happy to finally find out the fate of Jacob, Emma, and the other peculiar children and ymbrynes, this was my least favorite book of the three. This book was filled with just as much thrill and peril as the other two, yet I still found it difficult to want to pick it up and read. For at least the first half of the book, the action focuses only on Jacob, Emma and the peculiar dog, Addison. I think part of my distraction was that I just didn’t find it as interesting when the story was about only a couple of the peculiar children. I wanted to hear more from the others.
Another thing that made it difficult for me to get lost in the story was that a lot of new information was given that just seemed overwhelming. Learning about peculiar children, ymbrynes, time loops, wights, and hollowgasts was fine in book one, since I was prepared for this world-building, and it was given a little bit at a time. But there seemed to be a large ‘dump’ of information, somewhere in the middle of this book, where the reader suddenly learned we didn’t know even half of what we needed to know to complete the story. There’s suddenly a confusing Panloopticon, with a very detailed backstory of Miss P’s two brothers and how they created the wights/hollowgasts. I found myself not really caring about most of the information given, and I just wanted the story to get moving.
The end was good, and I liked how things finally came together, although it did seem that the climax of saving the children/ymbrynes from the ‘evil’ brothers came a bit too soon. The emotional closure that Jacob went through after the events finished seemed to drag a bit too long and I wished part of it had been summarized.
Overall, I did like this story. If you’ve read the first two books, you’ll enjoy learning about what happens to the peculiar children and will be surprised with where they end up, when all is said and done. A recommended read if you have already begun the series.
Happy reading, friends!