Posted in fantasy, review, young adult

A Map Of Days – Ransom Riggs

“I had just survived the most surreal summer imaginable – skipping back to bygone centuries, taming imaginable monsters, falling in love with my grandfather’s time-arrested girlfriend – but only now, in the unexceptional present, in Suburban Florida, in the house I’d grown up in, was I finding it hard to believe my eyes.”

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Blurb: “Having defeated the monstrous threat that nearly destroyed the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back where his story began, in Florida. Except now Miss Peregrine, Emma, and their peculiar friends are with him, and doing their best to blend in. But carefree days of beach visits and normalling lessons are soon interrupted by a discovery—a subterranean bunker that belonged to Jacob’s grandfather, Abe. Clues to Abe’s double-life as a peculiar operative start to emerge, secrets long hidden in plain sight. And Jacob begins to learn about the dangerous legacy he has inherited—truths that were part of him long before he walked into Miss Peregrine’s time loop. Now, the stakes are higher than ever as Jacob and his friends are thrust into the untamed landscape of American peculiardom—a world with few ymbrynes, or rules—that none of them understand.”

The Miss Peregrine series was one that I never expected to love as much as I did, and if it hadn’t been for the news of an adaption directed by Tim Burton it would have completely passed me by. The ending was one of those rare ones where I felt incredibly emotional, but also content with it. So when the news came out that the series was going to be extended by three books, I was incredibly apprehensive. In fact, I got myself so worked up that I honestly didn’t think I’d even be able to read this book.

A Map Of Days offered me one of the big things I wanted: character development. As the peculiars move from the loop world to present day Florida, they are forced into drastic changes in order to fit in. It was hilarious seeing them try Pizza for the first time and have to go shopping for regular clothes and the wit, especially from Millard won me over again. As the main crux of the plot comes into effect, the group is split with a select few joining Jacob on his mission to learn more about his grandfather and try to bring order back to the peculiar world. This worked really well because it eases the reader back into the cast of characters by focusing on a select view and padding them out in new surroundings. I found myself leaning more towards characters such as Enoch who I never really cared for in past books.

As usual, Ransom Riggs proves his talents in storytelling and world building as the reader explores new parts of the universe, accompanied by the peculiar photographs that give the series its unique element, but outside of that, this book fell really flat for me.

After the amazing arc the original trilogy had, is A Map of Days really needed? No. It isn’t. If anything, it’ll hopefully appeal to those fully invested in the series, but at just short of 500 pages, it’s a very long slog with a rushed action packed ending to try and keep the reader waiting for the next installment. I just didn’t really feel like it had that many revelations that it was marketed that it would have.

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Posted in review, young adult

Tales of the Peculiar – Ransom Riggs

“Please enjoy these Tales – before a crackling fire on a chilly night, ideally, a snoring grimbear at your feet – but remember, too, their sensitive nature, and if you must read them aloud (which I highly recommend) make certain your audience is peculiar.”

 

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Blurb: “Before Miss Peregrine gave them a home, the story of the peculiars was written in the tales. Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A forked tongue princess. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in Tales of The Peculiar – the collection of fairy tales known to hide information about the peculiar world, including clues to the location of time loops – first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his #1 bestselling series Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children series.”

I fell in love with this world Ransom Riggs has created nearly two years ago and I was heartbroken when it recently came to an end. However, as one last addition to this world, Tales of the Peculiar is born. For fans of the Miss Peregrine series, you will be familiar with this book; the one Jacob carries around with him. For newcomers, Tales of the Peculiar is a collection of fairy tales about those with “peculiar” abilities and plays an important part in the Miss Peregrine series. Although, you don’t have to read that first in order to enjoy this book. It’s basically like what Tales of Beedle The Bard is to the Harry Potter series.

One thing I’ve always struggled with Ransom’s books is that they often feel very heavy and you have to really sit down and focus on what’s happening to make sure you don’t accidently skim over important details. The advantage of this format being fairy tales is that they’re a lot shorter and lighter but they also keep the creative aspect that makes anything produced by this author so great.

Some of the stories were so creepy and uncomfortable that I found myself cringing such as “The Splendid Cannibals (A testament to the author’s amazing fascination with the weird) while others such as “The Pigeons of Saint Paul” which warmed my heart and became a firm favourite. There was a story about how the loops (a massive part of the trilogy) are made which I found fascinating.  These beautiful stories are accompanied by equally beautiful illustrations.

If you’re thinking of getting into Ransom’s Miss Peregrine series but not entirely sure if it’s for you, Tales of the Peculiar is a perfect way of testing that out.

I look forward to seeing what Ransom Riggs comes up with next!

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Posted in review, young adult

Library Of Souls – Ransom Riggs

“Emma looked at me and I looked back, and though it was too loud to hear anything over the motor and the rush of blood in our ears, I thought I could read in her face both fear and exhilaration – a look that said you, Jacob Portman, are amazing and terrifying.”

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Blurb: “The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home With 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 driving 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.”

This is the third and final book in the series and, as always, there is a pressure that comes with that; a pressure to create a satisfying ending.

Emma, Jacob and Addison are on a mission to rescue their peculiar friends and the ymbrynes from the wights. Top that off with Jacob’s new ability of being able to speak and control Hollows and you have a complicated situation. Using Addison’s incredible sense of smell, it takes them on the path to an old loop stuck 100 years in the past. It’s called Devil’s Acre and they believe their friends are being held there.

What I really appreciate about this series is the glossary at the front. I cannot begin to tell you how helpful it is to have one of those at this point in the story (Hollow City has one too). Ransom continues with the prose / photo format that makes this series so unique and once again, they add so much to the story. They just seem to root the world in reality.

Emma reminded of Hermione from the Harry Potter series in the way that she was on Jacob’s case a lot about practicing his power etc. I liked that there was a small group to follow this time as there are so many peculiars that it’s hard to keep track of who’s who. So having three characters as the primary focus made it easy to keep track of everyone and it was interesting to see how the dynamic work.

The Devil’s Acre loop was a fantastic primary location as it showed the true underbelly of the peculiar world.

The man issue I had with reading this book (and indeed with the previous two) is that it’s very hard to get into at first because Ransom has a well… peculiar writing style (ha!) that takes some adjustment and makes it hard to initially follow the action. I will admit I read 30 pages and then had to start from the beginning again because I had no idea what was taking place.

This series was the perfect length and as sad as I am that it’s over, I’m glad it hasn’t been extended beyond three books. It ended where it needed to and what a wonderful ending it was.

I will truly miss these characters.
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