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.
The Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ups the stakes with every passing book, as is evident by the dwindling squad around Jacob. At the end of the last book, this number had dropped to just Emma and the peculiar dog, Addison, who now have to follow the kidnapped ones, into the metaphorical lion’s den. Their journey takes them back into Time Loops, and they see a different side of Peculiardom – the punishment loops, as well as the introduction of a mythical place called the Library of Souls. Despite all the doom and gloom, we do have Addison as comic relief and some other scattered moments of humor that remind us that there is light even in dark times.
While the earlier books had focused on character development and the friendship between the peculiar children, this time, we see more of the action than any character arcs. There are the seedy sides of Peculiardom to explore, as well as finding out that the best kept secrets are the ones that are rendered unbelievable. The story finally delves into what exactly the Wights were attempting and why they would go to so much lengths to do so. I was a bit disappointed with that aspect, though – the villain, Caul (or whatever his name is – I was listening to an audiobook so I may have spelled it wrong) is pretty one-dimensional and is more a caricature of a mustache-twirling, world-dominating matriarchy-hating megalomaniac. No, where the main interest lies is in Jacob’s ability – to be able to see and communicate with the Hollows (and another that emerges later on). I liked the conflict generated due to his being able to communicate with the Hollows – he admits that they are dangerous creatures but he also feels pity for them in some cases.
The fantasy aspect of the series expands even further with the introduction of the Panloopticon, and the fate of the peculiars in an ever-distancing world. Also, the introduction of Library of Souls was a wonderful addition, but I felt it was added too late to the game, as it sort of got lost in the whole evil domination scheme. After the showdown with the villain, the author devotes part of the plot to Jacob’s future in Peculiardom, and his relationship with Emma. Now, I have never been a fan of the romantic relationship between them (her being his grandfather’s girlfriend and now his is just so weird) but they do make excellent partners, and great friends for each other. As for the eventual end, well, I was satisfied with it. And overall, the book is pretty good as a sequel and a finale.
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