Monday, June 13, 2016

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs and read by Kirby Heyborne

Summary from Goodreads:
A boy with extraordinary powers. An army of deadly monsters. An epic battle for the future of peculiardom.

The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.
Sadly, this was my least favorite book in the series. I did go about reading/listening to this one in a weird way. It’s a big book (12 discs), and I kind of wanted to see if I’d like the story as much without the spooky photographs, and I’d been on an audiobook kick, so why not? Unfortunately, I missed the photographs (though, there’s a bonus disc that includes them all). Also, so much time had gone by since I read the sequel, that it took me a while to get into things and remember who was who. Maybe I should have re-read the books first. Then add the fact that I went on vacation, half way through my reading/listening and it was weird coming back into the story when I returned, and well…that’s my weird way of saying I didn’t have the normal book experience here.
That being said, I did enjoy this book. The idea for this story is so good. I also love the characters to pieces. I love Jacob and Emma. I love the talking dog. I love Miss Peregrine. I even love the new characters. I did have trouble remembering the other peculiars that Jacob kept missing. But, it had been a long time since I read about them. If I’d re-read the beginning of the series, I’m sure I’d like them too.
Why was this one not as good as I remember the others? For starters, so much of the story felt like filler. I honestly believe this book could have been cut in half and I would have enjoyed it so much more. Too much time was spent deciding on plans, getting to their kidnapped friends, and figuring out what to do at the end. It’s sort of the rare case where I was wishing for more action, and less foresight, if that makes sense. It took me weeks to get through, granted I was away on vacation for one of those weeks, but still. It took me way to long to read.
Also, the villain was an all-time terrible cliché of a cartoon villain. I was used to interesting, dark, and uniquely fun characters. Why couldn’t the bad guy be this too? Every time he complained about no one letting him make speeches or every time he whined about his other siblings getting all the attention, I literally felt like smashing my head against a table. I mean he was one cliché away from petting a cat, doing an evil cackle, and twisting a stereotypical mustache. I was so disappointed in him. Also it didn’t make sense for someone smart enough to do all that he accomplished and planned for years to be so generically stupid.
I liked the very end. I like that things went back to the real world and Jacob had to address the fact the world with his parents in it would never accept the friend he made in the peculiar world. It felt reminiscent of an early Harry Potter novel. I was so afraid it would end before this could happen. Thankfully, this had a great final chapter that had me smiling the whole time, well after the terrifying bits at least.
All in all, I love the story and the characters. I think there was way too much unnecessary filler in the story and it got in the way of the good action sequences for me. Also, it was hard for me to picture the setting because of a lack of world-building. It took me way too long to get through this story. The evil villain was a joke. The final ending though was fantastic. I was hoping to like it more, but I am glad I read it, if anything just for that end. I give it a 7/10.

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