Title: Library of Souls (Peculiar Children Series, Book 3)
Author: Ransom Riggs
Published: September 22, 2015 by Quirk Books
“Just a story. It had become one of the defining truths of my life that, no matter how I tried to keep them flattened, two-dimensional, jailed in paper and ink, there would always be stories that refused to stay bound inside books. It was never just a story. I would know: a story had swallowed my whole life.”
**Contains spoilers if you have not read Hollow City**
Library of Souls was a well-written and action-packed finale to the Peculiar Children series. The ending of Hollow City KILLED ME, I totally did not see it coming and I was completely shocked, so of course I was initially incredibly anxious to find out what happened next. By the time I read the book, though, my excitement had waned, and that may be at play in my fairly “meh” feelings about the book.
Jacob, Emma, and Addison the talking dog have narrowly escaped capture from the wights with the discovery of Jacob’s expanding power (commanding the hollows in a language he didn’t know he could speak, how very parstletongue). Their friends were not so lucky. The trio immediately sets off to rescue their crew, and find themselves in Devil’s Acre, the loop where the less savory peculiars take haven.
Riggs continues to expand on his fantastic world building that was begun in Hollow City, and Devil’s Acre was certainly a colorful place (sidenote: I loved the stories that led to the loop entrances in Hollow City, so creative!). I loved that we finally get to see the amoral peculiars. This book began really, really slowly. Nothing that really developed the story happened until about 150 pages in. I was irritated with Emma the majority of that time, and began to worry that the book wasn’t going to pick up at all and I was just going to hate it. It did though, thank goodness! Once the story gets moving, it became really hard to put down. I loved all of the action, the new characters, and the Library of Souls.
I did have a number of problems with this book, but I’m pretty sure they were all my own little annoyances rather than actual problems with the story… so take them with a grain of salt, just in case you think I’m crazy.
My issues (don’t worry, no spoilers!):
- First of all, I felt that the photos Riggs used for this book were a bit of a stretch. Some of them were photo shopped with words that helped them fit into the story, and I don’t remember that being the case in the previous books (correct me if I’m wrong). In Peculiar Children, he built the story around the photos, and as the series continued he had to find photos that fit in with the story, and it didn’t work so well as the original approach.
- Fans of the series are going to be upset with me, but I have a problem with the whole Emma and Jacob romance. It just creeps me out that she was originally in love with his grandpa, who has the same powers and looks similar to him, and now she’s in love with him..? I just. No. That’s wrong on so many levels. I also didn’t think it was necessary. It didn’t add anything to the story. In fact, I think it took away from it. As I was reading, I noticed the style of writing changed whenever Jacob thought about Emma; it was like a weird explanatory monologue each time, and I wasn’t a fan.
- I also missed the other peculiar children. We hardly get to see them in this book, and while the new characters were interesting, I didn’t have a two-book relationship built with them! I thought it was cute that the book is “signed” by all of our favorite peculiar children, but why on earth is it teal?!
I was really hoping the finale of this series would be more satisfying than it was. The ending both wrapped everything up in a convenient little bow while poorly explaining many questions that had been introduced (that’s kind of impressive, actually.. oxymoron?). I’ve heard Riggs is planning on writing more stories in the same world, but unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be reading them. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was by far the best book of the series, and I can’t imagine stretching the photo concept even further would create any gratifying new stories.
Have you read Hollow City? What did you think??
I’ll write again soon. Until then, stay peculiar ;)