Library of Souls – Ransom Riggs

LibraryOfSouls_final_300dpi.jpgAuthor: Ransom Riggs

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, photography, Sci-fi, Historical fiction

Thoughts: Amazing, amazing, amazing! That’s what I thought of not just this book, but its entire series. I thought this was the perfect finish to this series, it tied everything up and was just super amazing. Library of Souls picked up right where the last book left off, which I really like about this series. It’s not like it skips a bit and then restarts – it could literally be the next chapter of the last book.

“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.”
― Ransom RiggsLibrary of Souls

This book definitely had a new and different feel about it than the other two. Not as eerie, I don’t think, and I’m not sure how to feel about it. I did like the creepiness of the last two books, and it may just be me getting used to all the information.

So, plot lines… I’ll just say, it starts with a bang. Still following our main character, Jacob learns more about his peculiarity, and we learn more about him. After this passes, it is still action packed. Something new and exciting happens basically every page. And now, for the climax. It had me on the edge of my seat, it was so nail-biting. Some twists and turns happen, a few new found friends, and some betrayals as well, all mix together to create one big ending for this series. It kept me reading, as I thought it was all resolved, and then something went wrong, and then they fixed that, and something went REALLY wrong, and then somehow, all the loose ends were tied up. I also really liked the ending of the book. A nice finish to this series

“An opportunist disguised as a friend can be every bit as dangerous as an outright enemy.”
― Ransom RiggsLibrary of Souls

Another reoccurring setting in the series is Victorian England, which I always find interesting to read about – and this time it was the slums (Devil’s Acre). The descriptions Riggs give are amazing, painting the picture right into my head. A lot of new information was included in this book, which was nice to learn. We discover more about the time loops, including the infamous ‘panloopticon’. It was a nice touch, using the original idea of a panopticon, (A building, where all residents can be observed by a single person, without them knowing they are being watched)

“There was, in fact, a street sign to that effect—the first I’d seen in all of Devil’s Acre. Louche Lane, it read in fancy handwritten script. Piracy discouraged.
“Discouraged?” I said. “Then what’s murder? Frowned upon?”
“I believe murder is ‘tolerated with reservations.’ ”

― Ransom RiggsLibrary of Souls

One significant factor I did miss in this novel was the original set of peculiar characters. I loved all their relationships, and it’s nice when all is resolved. Also, for a lot of the last two books, Miss Peregrine herself has not been present, which I find a little annoying just because I like her so much. I believe she may be my favourite character (she’s just so quirky and intense, and just altogether awesome!!) We did meet a few more characters, including some more peculiars, and the new ‘bad guys’. A certain boatman named Charon was a nice little touch, using a bit of Greek Mythology, which is one of my favourite things to read about.

And last thing, the photos. I think the entire series has used them very effectively, especially the first book, but this book was definitely not a let down. I like the ones depicting peculiar children the most. Basically, I think this should be the next ‘big’ series – it’s that good. I loved the characters, the setting, and the genre. It was a fantasy book mixed with a bit of sci-fi – my favourite! It also ended well. Everything was resolved perfectly and it was the perfect ending for a perfect series.

Why you should read it: I think I’ve already mentioned everything there is to love about this book. Basically, if you’re a fantasy reader, enjoy sci-fi, or are just looking for a relatively short young adult series, this should be the thing you pick up.

Rating:    star_rating_4-5_of_5


Hollow City – Ransom Riggs

Title: Hollow City

hollow_city_novel_coverAuthor: Ransom Riggs

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, photography, Sci-fi, Historical fiction

Thoughts: Just wow… This series just keeps continuing to impress me. The intricate plot line, and character developments, mixed in with vintage photographs, and the overall creepy feeling to this book and its series… I literally could not put this down.

“This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.”

Still following our main character, Jacob Portman, he and his newly found peculiar friends have to travel to London to help their beloved guardian, Miss Peregrine. Hollow City quite literally starts where the first book left off. It was a very engaging story, and every chapter, I would get to the end, meaning to put it down, and then something else exciting would happen, reeling me back in.

“Strange, I thought, how you can be living your dreams and your nightmares at the very same time.”
― Ransom RiggsHollow City

The storyline, while it can be confusing in parts, is very imaginative. The descriptions of the monstrous Hollowgast were amazing, and I particularly liked this book because of the setting – London. Having been there myself, I could easily picture the landmarks and streets as they passed them, like St Paul’s cathedral, meaning I got a much better feeling of where the Peculiars were. And then to the actual characters themselves. I feel like they’ve all grown so much since the first novel, and I could actually notice the change in them. I began to forget that it had only been like a week since Jacob met them all, and that this novel only took place in the midst of 48 hours. It was crazy. So many things have happened.

For anyone worried about spookiness or creepiness in this series, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick it up. While the pictures add to the overall eerie plot, it was just the right amount of scary for me. Not enough to give me nightmares or anything, but definitely something where I was on the edge of my seat. And again, the vintage looking photos Ransom Riggs has used so effectively, brings this story to life. While there were a few sad ones near the beginning that were a bit hard to look at, they most definitely helped get across the message that he wanted to convey with them, and I really, really love the way that he weaves them into the story so smoothly that sometimes you don’t even notice there’s been a break in words, and suddenly you have the clearest image in your mind of what you’ve just read. I’ve never read any other books that use this method, and I really find it effective.

“Some truths are expressed best in the form of myth.”
― Ransom RiggsHollow City

And now for the big finish!! What a twist! I was fooled the entire way through the book, believing they would get some sort of resolution when… BOOM – twist ending. I did not see it coming at all. And it left me feeling excited for the next book, Library of Souls. Lucky I’ve already got it at home…

I think the only reason why this book could be any better than Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, is that little extra bit of action. This entire book is full to the brim with it, every chapter something new and exciting happening. While in the first book, there was the few introductory paragraphs, setting the scene and characters, and then a few chapters here and there, Hollow City was an explosive book, that kept me engaged the whole time.

“I liked this idea: that peculiarness wasn’t a deficiency, but an abundance; that it wasn’t we who lacked something normals had, but they who lacked peculiarness. That we were more, not less.”
― Ransom RiggsHollow City

Why should read it? Obviously, if you’ve read the first one, definitely go on reading the rest of the series… It’s good. And for anyone who is worried it isn’t their thing, or too creepy, don’t worry. I had the exact same thoughts as I picked the first book up for the first time, and am very, very glad I did. This is one of those books that, if it were known, would be the next big thing. 

Book in a word: Engaging

Rating: Star_rating_4.5_of_5.png

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1)

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Childrenmiss peregrine 1: Ransom Riggs

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Photography, sci-fi

Thoughts: This book was definitely a change from my usual readings. Normally, I like a fiction book with a bit of magic, and mystery, but this book was, well, peculiar. That’s not to say I didn’t like it though. It was one of those books that once you pick it up, you can’t put down. Let me set the scene. You’re working your part time job, as you usually do and get a strange call from your grandfather. Now, your grandfather does have crazy fits sometimes, but you think it’s just from fighting in World War Two. Little did you know what you would find when you go and check up on him. Dead in the woods near his house. In his last breath he rambles on about a bird in a loop on the island. This starts a whole chain of events that eventually leads to Jacob, the main character, investigating an old orphanage.

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.” ― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

When I first was recommended this book, I looked at the cover and didn’t really like it. I am one to judge a book by its cover, even though I shouldn’t. Then another friend of mine read it, and loved it, so I borrowed it out. And I should’ve done it earlier! I really liked it. The mixture of photography in the fiction made it all the more interesting. In the story, there are photographs found in Jacob’s house and in the old orphanage, and every time one is mentioned, the author puts the actual image after it. This gives you a good picture of what the characters are like and what special abilities they have. I especially look forward to images, and actually have to stop myself from looking forward in the book before I’m finished reading the description.

“Because we weren’t like other people. We were peculiar.”

“Peculiar how?”

“Oh, all sorts of ways,” he said. “There was a girl who could fly, a boy who had bees living inside him, a brother and sister who could lift boulders over their heads.” ― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Another feature I liked about this book were the characters and plot-line. The storyline of this book is quite complicated, using a type of time travel loop thing, where a person has to walk through the loop and they come back in another time. Then at the end of each day, the loop is reset, so the characters experience the same day every day. September third 1940. This comes to be an important date in the book. When I first opened the book and was introduced to the time loop, I don’t think I was concentrating on the story as well as I could have, meaning I was very confused. When I reached the next part of the book that mentioned the time loop, I had to go back and read what it was. This was one of the only things that I didn’t like about the story. I also liked most of the characters. As they were in the time loop, most of the children are over 50 years old, some over 100. And because of this, some of them use different English or grammar, and some act a little strangely. I also found this feature interesting. Really, this book was quite good, but definitely not my favourite.

“I don’t mean to be rude’ I said, ‘but what are you people?’

‘We’re peculiar,’ he replied, sounding a bit puzzled. ‘Aren’t you?;

‘I don’t know. I don’t think so’

‘That’s a shame.” ― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Why should you read it: This book is definitely unique, so if you want to read something different, this is the book for you. It mixes photography, young adult fiction, fantasy and even a bit of sci-fi. If you liked Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series, you might like this. Also, there is a bit of mystery and creepiness in the story.

Book in a word: Unique (Peculiar)

Rating: 8½/10