Book review: Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #3)Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Library of Souls begins immediately where Hollow City left off, and plunges the reader head-first into the action. If it has been some time since reading Volume 2 (as it had been for me) and if your retention of the previous novel isn’t stellar (as mine wasn’t), this can be a little confusing. But within five or 10 pages, I had caught enough clues to ping my memory bank, and was able to run along with the characters at their break-neck pace.

And I do mean break-neck. This novel is fast-paced from page one and doesn’t let up until the very end. Jacob, Emma, talking dog Addison, and their compatriots are still in Victorian London, and still working on rescuing Miss Peregrine from the clutches of some mysterious and fell mastermind. The trail leads through Devil’s Acre, a hidden horrendous slum of “peculiars” and other people who have fallen through the cracks of society, where our heroes are endangered by their very nature: they need to use their powers to protect themselves, but those powers draw unwanted and perilous attention.

Reluctantly, they enlist the aid of a boatman named Sharon (yes, I know) whose hooded face they never see, but who occasionally allows others to catch a glimpse; said others quickly comply with whatever request Sharon has made of them. Thus defended, Jacob and company make their way through the Acre, following Addison’s trusty nose as he sniffs out the scent of their fellow peculiars. Much danger, excitement, and explosions ensue.

As with the other novels in this series, vintage photographs illustrate scenes throughout the story. Also as with the other novels, this conceit doesn’t always work. At times — more so in this third installment than in the others — the text pertaining to the photograph seems forced and unnatural, as if the author felt he needed to shoehorn one more photo into the narrative because it was such an interesting shot and not necessarily because it served the story. It’s also possible that the photos didn’t work so well for me because I read this on a Kindle rather than in paper.

Regardless, this was a satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy. While nothing was left unresolved, it left a little room for a continuation of the series, should Mr. Riggs feel so inclined. If that occurs, and if I decide to continue following along, I’ll make a point of reading a physical book rather than an e-book.

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