Hello my fellow book enthusiast,
Last week I went to the movies and got to enjoy the previews (who doesn’t love a good preview?) Which in my opinion is the only time that everyone gets to be a critic… Anyways, the movie for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children came up and looked wonderful. SO like I do every time I see a good movie coming out I search for its book counterpart because we all know the book is always better.
I got the first one…
I must say when I pick it up at Barnes and Noble I was worried it would be a haunting thriller or something and usually, that’s not my cup of tea. Readers, do not let the cover fool you! Instead, this book is fantasy/adventure combined with a very unique style of photography, which made the book better than I ever thought it would be.
First off the story – Jacob Portman(main man numero uno) desires an adventurous life, much like the life his grandfather describes to him in various stories as he was a kid( cause who doesn’t love the stories we are told as kids?). However, when Jacob realizes that he can never have an adventurous life(reality check at 16, impressive), he just tries to be normal and fit in(dull dull dull). He’s not popular or extremely smart, and there doesn’t seem to be anything unusual about him at all; but when his grandfather dies and leaves Jacob with a cryptic message, Jacob is sent on a hunt to find his grandfather’s past and ends up traveling all the way to Wales(with his semi-rude father). Once there, Jacob discovers much more than he ever could have imagined about his grandfather and is thrown into the midst of a very peculiar situation(ha see what I did there?).
Ransom Riggs reminded me very much of Lemony Snicket. In fact, this entire book series reminded me very much of Mr. Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books not that he stole his style just the quirk and banter that Snicket has, Rigg’s also did. I loved it. Riggs also did a superb job at explaining the detail of everything in the story. Even without the occasional photographs of people and things in the story, I was able to visualize the locations and details because of the fantastic descriptions.
Now, as for the photographs, they added a whole new dimension to the story. They didn’t turn the novel into a picture book or something else that we normally associate with children; rather, they added a new level of immersion to the story, with the reader being almost able to see exactly what Jacob is seeing as he looks at the many photographs scattered throughout. Take the front cover for instance. After finishing the book, I also read the back interviews where Riggs explains his inspiration for the photos and it really added another level to the photos for me. It is an amazing way to be different as an author.
I quickly finished the book and ran back to the store for the next one…
It was good. We learn more of the Hallows and end up in a war zone and I liked the plot ideas along with the characters. Though the pace felt medium to me which slowed things down for me. There were some parts I felt Riggs wanted to use a photo and made the story fit with the photo, and I don’t know that it worked in some parts.
The “lovebirds” (i.e. main characters) seemed odd. Mind, this is a book of odd things. I mean with the background that went along with it…odd.
But Riggs manages to pull on over on his readers with the twist at the end and leave us hanging once more, and I once again had to read the next one. Anyone else happy when you read a series and you have all of them at your disposal? No having to wait nine months for the next one? Anyways…
Oh man, was I pumped for this one! Just look at the title! Library of Souls?!
We pick up exactly where we left off and Jacob and Emma are left to hunt and search the London the side streets which held familiar sights that were welcoming while also holding the potential for danger. Eventually, Jacob and his crew meet Sharon, a peculiar Peculiar who would take them through a loop to The Devil’s Acre, “the most wretched slum of Victorian England,” where their friends were taken. Share may well be one of my favorite characters in the series. Anyways Devil’s Acre (neat name) is the location of many addicted, conniving, thieving, untrustworthy Peculiars who could not “fit in” anywhere else. It is the stuff of nightmares, its mysteries dark and plentiful and its intent is deception – all-in-all the perfect location for the final showdown of “good” and “evil.” In that final confrontation, the young Jacob learns the power of wounds and the reality that some wounds never heal because the one harmed chooses to hold onto the injury.
The last twenty-five or so pages may be the best writing of the series. The story is brought full-circle finding Jacob back where he started. The dangers he now faces, in many ways, are the most perilous of all. His definitions of “trust,” “love,” “protection” are challenged beyond comfortable limits by those who had the responsibility to teach him those concepts and protect him by their use. The book ends with “closure” but that doesn’t stop Mr. Riggs from leaving some questions unanswered.
I would say overall it was a great trilogy, a fascinating, one-of-a-kind story. Complete with time loops, hallows, and strange yet talented children. Good versus evil is a battle that everyone can enjoy. However, it’s not your average YA novel. And honestly, I loved how Riggs ended his last sentence- WE HAVE TIME. Perfect.
“We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing in them becomes too high.”
― Ransom Riggs,
Please let me know if you liked the series!
Ta- ta for now.