Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Library of Souls

I was so excited to read Library of Souls. I saw it there, on a table of books, surrounded by Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City, announcing its arrival. (There were other books on the table too, but I couldn’t tell you what they were.) I love the excitement of seeing a book on a table, one that you’ve been anticipating for a year. Then I had it, it was mine, I couldn’t wait to read it.

I was glad that the story focused on Jacob and Emma. It was always Jacob-focused, as the story is told in first-person, but it was just him and Emma, without the crowd of the other children.  I liked all the other Peculiar children, but at times I had a hard time remembering who was who and after more than a year, I felt like that might be my problem again.  There were other secondary characters, Sharon (who was great) and Bentham (who I might talk more about later), Mother Dust and Reynaldo, and more, but they didn’t occupy the same space in my mind that the children did.  They also came in at specific times and weren’t a constant crowd. Also, by focusing on just Jacob and Emma, we got to see their relationship develop.  It also really let us have a connection with Bentham and Sharon, who were important to how the story turned out in the end.

See that guy? Wouldn't you
want to put him in your story?
I think that Ransom Riggs used less photographs this time. In the first novel, they were fascinating.  I loved them, I loved how they must have inspired the author. In Hollow City, I thought there were too many. In Library of Souls, there was the perfect amount. They didn’t overtake the story, they enhanced it.  Just looking at the photos, the ones Riggs decided to include, the ones that must have inspired him, I can see how collecting them could be a passion. So many of them are curious, all are unique and I wonder about the story behind them.

The real story, the one that stayed at the focus of the novel, was freeing the Peculiar children and their Ymbrynes.  Even with all the things that could distract them, Jacob and Emma stayed focused. They’d rather break away than wait and delay.  There were so many times they could have been sidetracked, by curiosity, by morals, but they had to rescue their friends and that was it (I won’t get into all the distractions, as those would be spoilers).

No jacket. So pretty.
– This part will be a little spoilery – I wasn’t super happy with the final battle.  I thought there should have been more Jacob.  It’s like he did his bit and the other guys took care of the scary part.  It lost a sense of urgency. Why couldn’t he have battled more, fallen in the pool or something?  I also thought that Bentham could have either seemed more sinister or not flip-flopped so much. It was okay though.

What I really liked was the very end.  All that stuff with Jacob and his parents, I thought was great. I would have thought his father was more understanding, but nope. I also liked the decision Jacob made when he was presented with an opportunity to make it all go away. He wanted to work through it with his parents, instead of the more obvious/conventional/expected choice, to just stay in the peculiar world.  His reasoning was sound though, who would want to be 16 forever?  The very end though, I would have loved to see that conversation, with the adults, with the very old children. - That's it for spoilers. - 

I loved Ransom Riggs’ series and the Peculiar world. I loved the old photographs and I love how they inspired so much of these novels. I wonder what is next for Riggs and if we’ll ever visit the Peculiars again.

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