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.
(Story synopsis and cover image from goodreads.com)
I finally got to read Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs, the third in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. I had read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City over a year ago in April, so it took me a little while to remember what had happened in those books before. (My reviews for those books can be found here and here, respectively.)
Library of Souls picks up exactly where Hollow City left off, with Jacob, Emma, and Addison in an Underground station in London fighting for their lives. However, this predicament has left Jacob with an awareness of a gift that now makes him extremely valuable in the peculiar world – somehow being able to communicate with the hollows that are chasing him. Well, at least with the one that he was confronted by at the end of the second book anyway.
Jacob, Emma, and Addison are now on their own and have to begin the difficult journey of figuring out where their friends and leaders were taken after they were captured by the wights. Riggs was able to create such a unique and, in a word, disgusting area for these three peculiars to find those who were most important to them. I say disgusting because that is probably the best word to describe the loop known as Devil’s Acre. The setting is only the physical embodiment of all of the evil that exists in this place, and also reflects the evil of Caul – the one in charge of the wights, hollows, and stealing of peculiar children and ymbrynes.
It is while Jacob and Emma are in Devil’s Acre (separated from Addison, but accompanied by Sharon, a particularly intimidating peculiar who acts as their guide), that they (and the readers) learn more about Miss Peregrine’s past, including more about her brothers. We are also given more background as to how the hollows and wights came to be in existence. Miss Peregrine’s brothers also become a central part to the plot of Library of Souls. It is because of them that Jacob and Emma learn what they must do to rescue their friends and keep them from a terrible fate that awaits them if Caul manages to succeed in his plan.
Jacob, Emma, and all of the peculiars find themselves in a fight in a world that takes them back through history (even more so than in Hollow City). They must unravel a legend that was said to be just a story – a story said to be untrue to keep the whole of the peculiar world safe. Jacob must also make a difficult choice as he and Emma are faced with what their futures hold – does he stay with Emma forever in peculiardom, or does he return to his own time and family?
Library of Souls was definitely darker and more adult in nature than the first two books, but I think this was necessary for Riggs to progress the story line so that the consequences of actions could truly be shown. The trials that all of the peculiars had to endure were not ones that children should have to deal with, as was often stated by the ymbrynes. However, it also shows that when we face problems, we all have a decision to make and we should hope that we are able to make the right one. We can also see that when each of our individual strengths are combined, we can make a bigger difference together – we should embrace what makes each of us unique.
I truly believe that Riggs did an incredible job of creating a third book for his series. Many times (in my opinion) a third book in a series seems to fall below expectations in an attempt to wrap up a series. That was definitely not the case with Library of Souls. There was a great sense of adventure and, as with the first two books, the photographs added interest to the story (even more amazing because they’re real!). Library of Souls allowed the plot of all three books to come back full circle and provide a sense of closure, mixed with hope. I would recommend Ransom Riggs’ series as a fun, yet intriguing set of stories that explore our peculiarities.