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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Library Of Souls by Ransom Riggs (Reviewed by Joshua Redlich)


Official Author Website
Order Library Of Souls HERE

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Ransom Riggs grew up in Florida, where he spent his formative years making silly movies with his friends in their various backyards, snorkeling, and complaining about the heat. He studied English at Kenyon College and film at the University of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles. He makes films you can watch on his YouTube page. He enjoys traveling to exotic lands and complaining about the heat. He would like to thank you for reading this short biography.

OVERVIEW: Picking up right where Hollow City left off, this conclusion to the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children trilogy follows sixteen-year-old Jacob as he attempts to save his peculiar friends from the hands of their enemy, the Wights. Together with Emma Bloom, a girl who can create fire at will, and Addison MacHenry, a talking dog, Jacob must venture back in time to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the worst slum in all of Victorian London, where the fate of not just his friends but all of Peculiardom rests in his hands.

FORMAT: Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs is the conclusion to the bestselling trilogy, Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children. This 464 page, young adult novel is narrated by the protagonist, Jacob Portman, and illustrated throughout with vintage, black-and-white photographs. The book was published by Quirk Books on September 22, 2015 in Hardcover and as an e-book and audiobook.

ANALYSIS: The final installment in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children trilogy has been eagerly awaited by millions of fans, including myself. Sadly, though, it failed to meet my expectations.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the first book in the series, drew readers in with a unique plot, a deliciously dark atmosphere, and a collection of bizarre, black & white vintage photos that illustrated the book and from which the author created the story. The characters were complex and interesting, the story was fast-paced and engaging, and the ending was the sort that left me gaping at the last page like a fool, unsure how I could possibly survive the wait for Hollow City, the next book in the series.

Library of Souls, unfortunately, did not live up to its predecessor. That isn’t to say that there wasn’t much to love about the story. The setting of the book, one of the worst slums of Victorian London, was very well realized, and it fit perfectly with the dark tone of the series. Additionally, the story sheds light on the history of Peculiardom, something I always found interesting that the other books in the series only scraped the surface of. And the story was far from boring. The novel wasted no time getting started, picking up on the very first page and quickly moving from one adventure to the next until the conclusion. Yet despite the good writing and quick pacing, it failed to meet my expectations.

For one, the legend of the Library of Souls, which is essential to this story, came out of nowhere. There was no mention of it, as far as I can remember, in the first two books, and its sudden importance in this book made the entire novel feel like one of those filler episodes on a super hero television series that introduces a new villain in the beginning and deals with him or her by the end. The fact that it was so crucial to the events of the entire series and yet introduced almost randomly in the final book was a bit disappointing. It would have been great if the author had mentioned the Library of Souls earlier on, perhaps keeping it a mystery until Library of Souls to build suspense. But even more disconcerting was the peculiars’ seemingly lack of interest in the library, and what its existence could mean for them. Not a single one seemed even slightly interested in it.

In addition to the flaws surrounding the Library of Souls, there were a number of other issues I had with the book. It was incredibly predictable and completely devoid of suspense, with most of the story feeling like irrelevant fluff before the final showdown between the peculiars and the Wights. And the vintage, black and white photographs the author uses to illustrate his books, an aspect of the series that has always been a personal favorite, were severely lacking. Only a few of them managed to capture the bizarre eeriness of the photographs used in the prior two novels; the rest were just a collection of landscapes and portraits with little or no intrinsic peculiarity. On top of that, there are a number of copyediting errors, such as the inclusion of unnecessary articles and several double negatives. An unsatisfactory and fairly anticlimactic ending is just the icing on the cake.

CONCLUSION: Despite my issues with Library of Souls, I still believe the series, as a whole, is fantastic, and I am quick to recommend it to younger and older readers alike. The story is original, the characters are relatable, and the writing is smooth and a pleasure to read.

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