Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Library of Souls" by Ransom Riggs


Ransom Riggs has put himself in line with the darker, but not too dark, realm of Neil Gaiman.

Using old black and white photographs to aid in his story, if not using them to give him ideas, Riggs has set up a storytelling technique that could follow him into other books. He could set up new worlds, using old photos, or he could return to the world of the Peculiars that he has created. Either way, if he abandons the old photos used in his stories, I will be sad.

Like, I get it. As an author, he probably wants to go write other things, use new ideas, but as far as I know, other writers aren't using real photos (that are definitely altered and Photoshopped before computers and Photoshop were even a thing) to help tell the story.

In the past three books we've learned that there's a secret species of humans that have abilities called Peculiars, and the best part of these abilities is that some of them are absurd. A girl that has to wear heavy shoes, otherwise she'll float away. A boy that can control bees, and keeps them in his stomach. A little girl that has two mouths...one of them is on the back of her head. A dog that can talk. Instead of being like superheros from the Marvel or DC universe, these characters feel more like discarded circus folk. Sure they could use their unique abilities to save people, but really, they wear the world around them like an itchy sweater.

We've learned that there are women who are the leaders of these Peculiars called ymbrynes. They can change into birds, but they also have the unique ability to stop time around them and create a loop where the Peculiars can live (forever, because they stop aging) safely.

We've learned there are plenty of different loops, in all different time periods, that the Peculiars can find.

We've learned that the bad guys, one of them related to the well-known Miss Peregrine, has decided that it's time to take back power and let Peculiars be the superpowers they were always meant to be.

The title of "Library of Souls" finally makes sense because, apparently, this Library really does exist and by finding it means ultimate power.

So, in the final installment of his Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children trilogy, our heroes, Jacob and Emma, are alone in rescuing their captured friends. Stopping the Big Bad from finding the "Library of Souls" and venturing into a crazy loop called Devil's Acre, a loop in the grimy parts of Victorian England, that houses the Whights, Hallowgasts and adult Peculiars who are also criminals.

We find out Jacob's ability to see Hollowgasts is more than that, he can control them, which will give him the edge he needs, but it's not enough. He needs the help of new friends he meets in Devil's Acre. He also must battle with his place in the world. Where does he truly belong? He continues to fall in love with Emma, the girl who can create fire (the most underused ability in the book -- like, she could've burned many-a-bad guy). He continues to feel bad for leaving his parents behind in the present.

Obviously the book ends well, and Riggs does a lovely job of throwing you off course for a few pages, and then really giving you the ending that you're glad to see happen.

With the first book becoming a movie this September, I'm curious if Tim Burton will take on the other two books. I would be OK if he doesn't, seeing how "The Hunger Games" just carried on and became irrelevant. Like, I never did see "Mockingjay, Part 2" because I was like, "I'm over it, sorry 'boutchya."

I also wasn't in love with "The Hunger Games." It was good, but not weird enough. I like weird.

Miss Peregrine's kids are weird.

And I love them for it.