A bit of information about me: I hardly ever cry when it comes to books. But did I cry when I found out that Ransom Riggs was working on this book? You bet I did.
You can also read more about my excitement following the arrival of this book on my A Map of Days: Appreciation Post 😉
I was just so happy, but I was also afraid my happiness was going to set the bar too high. In a way, it kind of did, though I still really enjoyed this installment!
(If you’ve never read any of the Peculiar Children books, this book will make absolutely no sense to you. So go read those first!)
Following the events of Library of Souls, Jacob Portman is back in his Florida hometown – but this time, the peculiars are with him.
Soon enough, the peculiar children beg Jacob to teach them about the modern world, and he hesitantly agrees. But when Jacob goes back to his grandfather’s old house, he discovers something about Abe Portman’s past which leaves him asking even more questions than before.
Now, out and traveling across the United States, the peculiars find out the hard way that Peculiar America is so much more dangerous than they ever expected.
The plot built up pretty slowly, but it continued to get more interesting along the way. At about page 400, the plot just… well, the only way I can describe it is like this: if the first 400 pages was like a gentle-yet-fun rollercoaster, then the last 80 pages was like the end of the rollercoaster where your stomach just drops and you’re having fun but you’re also scared for your entire life.
Everything in my little heart is longing to give this book 5 stars, just because I can… but my brain is telling me that wouldn’t be an honest review.
So 4 stars it is!
- All your favorite characters are back! And in America!
- If you think the peculiars would have difficult yet hilarious times getting to know modern America, you would be 100% correct.
- More histories and backstories about some characters, which is nice so you can get know them better.
- Jacob, who continues to be one of my favorite characters and is secretly the male embodiment of myself.
- The pictures! Even more of them appear, and they’re still creepy.
- More adventures! More peculiarities! (Honestly, it’s very much what you would expect from a sequel in this series. Especially after the events in Library of Souls.)
NOT REALLY A PRO OR CON:
- It didn’t start to actually get interesting until around page 90.
- If we’re going to talk about creepy levels, the pictures in this book weren’t that creepy.
- While this book did seem overly long (perhaps even by 100 pages compared to the others), I remained interested throughout the whole novel and there was never an “ah yes, this is just a filler scene” moment for me.
- The ending scene? I can’t say much, but here’s something you should know: the next book may be very much different than the previous ones.
CONS (I guess):
- Have you ever read or watched a sequel, and you just knew in your heart that something was different but you couldn’t describe it in words? That’s what this book is like.
- While I think the idea of Jacob and the peculiars trying to live in the modern world is fun, it is very truly… different than the other books. Maybe in an out-of-character sort of way.
- Something about the way these characters were created makes me feel like it was a bit of a stretch to accommodate them into the modern world. Like, I could tell that there were several times where certain characters would not have chosen to do certain things under the given circumstances, had they been where/who they were at the beginning of the series (does this make any sense?). I could feel that the author had to move these characters along to fit them into the story he wanted, and I’ve been secretly feeling this way for the past couple of books.
Overall, as a personal preference, I choose to see through these cons when it comes to the Peculiar Children series. Why? I don’t know. All I can say is that I relate to Jacob on so many levels, and I care about him enough to follow his character through whatever happens.
Sometimes you just feel that way about a character.
I’m here for you, Jacob. Even if you sometimes make crazy choices.
Also, you can be my friend on Goodreads! I’ll see you later!