Marshmallow reviews Library of Souls: The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Marshmallow has reviewed the first two books of the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs. (Her review of the first book is here: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, and here is her review of the second one: Hollow City.) Today she reviews the third book published in 2015: Library of Souls.

Marshmallow reviews Library of Souls: The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
Marshmallow reviews Library of Souls: The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about magic and friendship, and if you enjoyed the first two books of the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): First off, let me say that the story in this book starts where the second book, Hollow City, ended. And that book was a direct continuation of the first book: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. So you need to have read those two books (or at least read my reviews of them) before reading any further. Once you are ready, please do read on.

Jacob Portman recently discovered that he can not only see the monsters that have been plaguing him and his peculiar friends, but also track, control, and talk to them. These evil monsters (called hollows) consume the souls of peculiar children to transform into wights who look human except that they have all-white eyeballs. Both hollows and wights have been working to steal the souls of peculiar children for a long time, to regain their own humanity which they lost in a failed experiment for immortality. Leading his friends on a quest to save the peculiar people from those trying to destroy them, Jacob must first rescue their caretaker Miss Peregrine.

With the help of his friend / love interest, Emma Bloom, Jacob learns that the monsters are trying to break into the legendary Library of Souls. This supposedly non-existent place was rumored to be where the souls of peculiars went after death. Rather like a library, a peculiar would “check out” a soul when they were born, and give it back when they died. But if someone entered this library, they could potentially take the souls and gain more power.

Clearly the stakes are much higher than they realized. Jacob must rescue his friends and reunite with allies if they wish to defeat these monsters.

Marshmallow is reading Library of Souls: The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
Marshmallow is reading Library of Souls: The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

Marshmallow’s Review: Taking the peculiar world to a new level of weird, Ransom Riggs introduces new nuances in this book. I really liked how much Library of Souls added to the world of peculiardom. With these new details, the world of peculiar children felt much more realistic. The characters also developed more.

This seems to have been written as the final book of a trilogy, though I believe the author has written three more in this same world. I felt a little unsatisfied by the ending and felt that this wasn’t exactly an end. The main storyline resolves well, but in terms of character development, it did not feel completely finished. The relationship between the protagonist and Emma Bloom in particular is not settled, and there is still a need for continuation. So I wouldn’t say that this is a final end to the series, rather the end of a part of the story.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading Library of Souls and look forward to reading the next books in the series. 

Marshmallow’s Rating: 96%

Marshmallow rates Library of Souls: The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 96%.
Marshmallow rates Library of Souls: The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 96%.

Marshmallow reviews Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A few weeks ago, Marshmallow reviewed Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and ended her review telling us that she was eager to read the next book in the series. In the following weeks, she indeed found and read the second book, Hollow City, published in 2014, and today she shares her thoughts on it with our readers.

Marshmallow reviews Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
Marshmallow reviews Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about magic and friendship, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Jacob Portman is peculiar. In Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, the first book of the series, Jacob discovered that the fantastic stories his grandfather told him were all true. Upon his grandfather’s death, he went to the island where the stories were based and discovered a hidden world, one full of children who had been living sheltered in a time loop for decades. These children were hiding from the rest of the world because they all possessed a peculiarity that made life outside dangerous for them. (Some examples of peculiarity include having control over fire and being invisible) These children were protected by women who could turn into birds. Unfortunately, soon after Jacob’s arrival, the children who were living on the island were driven out of their home and their keeper, Miss Peregrine, was forced into her bird form. During his time with these children, Jacob formed a close bond with them, specifically a girl named Emma. When they were forced out, Jacob and his friends ended up in the 1940s and were on the run from monsters who wanted to eat children with magical peculiarities.

This second book starts more or less at the same time where the first one ended. The children are in rowboats, running away. They believe that Miss Peregrine is the only one who can help them, but since she is trapped in her bird form and seemingly cannot change back, Jacob and his friends must find another time loop run by another keeper who can help them. Unfortunately, the monsters who want to eat them are coming after them fast. Besides this serious worry, Jacob also learns that Miss Peregrine has only a few days left before she will be stuck in bird form forever. How long can Jacob and the children go before it’s too late to save Miss Peregrine? How can they find a new home that will keep them safe?

Marshmallow is reading Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
Marshmallow is reading Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think Hollow City is a great followup to Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, the first Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children book. And it definitely did not curb my enthusiasm, and I look forward to reading the next one. That said, I did find this book a little more confusing than the first. I think I have missed certain details during my first read and so had to go back and reread some parts to figure things out.

The plot twist at the end (though I suspected it) led to a great turn of events and made the book much more interesting! I liked how it shook the ending up and made the book lead into the next one. Of course this means that the end of this book is not the end of the series, and there is definitely a cliffhanger, and you know I am not too keen on cliffhangers. But the author introduces several new characters towards the end and they really intrigued me.

This edition of Hollow City is similar to the first book. There are many old-looking photos sprinkled in through the book, and the story connects with them, just like before. Most of the photos are eerie, like the ones from the first book, but maybe they are a tad less scary. Or I might just be getting used to the feel of these images.

Hollow City adds much more to the world of peculiar children. There are many new characters, both human and animal. I enjoyed reading it thoroughly. I should still repeat my warning for the first book however. This is a great book, but it might be too scary or complicated for children younger than 12.  

Marshmallow’s Rating: 98%. 

Marshmallow rates Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 98%.
Marshmallow rates Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 98%.

Marshmallow reviews Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 

A while ago, Marshmallow and Caramel watched the 2016 movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and were quite disturbed by it. Only recently did Marshmallow come across the book which the film was based on: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, written by Ransom Riggs and published in 2011. To her surprise, she found it to be a quite satisfying read and decided to review it for the blog.

Marshmallow reviews Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
Marshmallow reviews Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about magic and friendship, then this might be the book for you.  

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): As Jacob was growing up, his grandfather Abraham always told him the most extraordinary stories about a house for peculiar children who each had special powers. This home was special, run by a bird who smoked a pipe. The children in the home were peculiar; some could fly, some were extremely strong, and the rest had other unnatural skills. But there were monsters after the children, and the monsters wanted to eat them. As Jacob grew older, he began to doubt the truth in these stories. That is, until he saw the monsters for himself.

Early in the book, Abraham is killed by the monsters that he used to talk about and suddenly everything changes. Abraham’s last words are “Find the bird. In the loop.” In an effort to make sense of these events and his grandfather’s final words, Jacob visits the children’s home. Unfortunately, the home he finds is not the bright paradise his grandfather described; rather it is a destroyed shell of a house because it was bombed on September 3, 1940. Jacob’s grandfather had uttered that exact date with his last breath. Upon further investigation and some excitement, Jacob is brought as a prisoner to the children’s home by some of the children. There he meets the “bird”, Miss Peregrine, who takes care of the peculiar children. Jacob’s grandfather’s stories were all true. And unfortunately, that means the monsters are real too. 

Marshmallow is reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
Marshmallow is reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

Marshmallow’s Review: As mentioned above in the preamble, I had watched the 2016 movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children before I read this book, so I had a sense of what to expect. Here is the trailer if you have not seen the movie yet (certain aspects in the movie differed from the original story and book):

I had enjoyed the movie but was a bit disturbed by it. In the end I think that the book is as good as the movie, if not better.

I really enjoyed reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children because it has a fascinating premise, and the plot is quite intriguing and original. There is humor and action, all intertwined with a lot of strange, peculiar things going on.

I would say that Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is for readers older than 12 or 13. There are a lot of (unnecessary) bad words, and some of the events may be a little scary for younger bunnies. (That may have been the reason why Caramel and I were so unsettled when we watched the movie version.) There was some amount of kissing too, which may be uninteresting for some people.

The book has a lot of photographs (in black and white) that are all mentioned and talked about in the book. And the photos are all displayed. I found it amazing that the photos fit so perfectly with the story. As far as I understand, the author wrote the story based off these photos he found. I found the photos added nuance as they’re not something you see in a novel everyday. However, a couple of the photos (specifically pg 263) might be disturbing for younger bunnies, yet another reason why this book may be better suited for 13 and above.

All in all, I found Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children a fascinating book to read, and I look forward to reading the next book. 

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%

Marshmallow rates Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 95%.
Marshmallow rates Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Marshmallow has been reviewing the illustrated editions of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series for the book bunnies blog. In the past few years she has read and reviewed the first four books, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneHarry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, all written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay. This week, when the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, finally appeared in the illustrated version, Marshmallow was able to get her paws on a copy and reread it once more. Below is her review of this book.

Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay and Neil Packer.
Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay and Neil Packer.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about magic and friendship, or if you have enjoyed the previous Harry Potter books, then this might be the book for you. (If you have not read any of the first four books yet, you might be better off starting from the beginning.)

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Harry Potter is a teenage boy who discovered on his eleventh birthday that he was a wizard (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). Since then his life has been transformed as he attends the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Not to mention that he is extremely famous as the boy who survived when Lord Voldemort, the Wizarding World’s most infamous villain, tried to kill him. When Voldemort failed to kill him, it was believed that the curse he released on Harry rebounded and killed Voldemort instead. However, in the four years Harry has attended Hogwarts, Voldemort has made several attempts to return. His first few attempts, chronicled in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, were eventually foiled, but unfortunately, last year, in the climax of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he succeeded. So at the beginning of this book, Lord Voldemort is back.

The bad part, besides the whole “worst wizard in the world has returned” part, is that the Wizarding World refuses to believe Harry when he tries to convince them that Voldemort is back, since he was the only witness to Voldemort’s return who is not working for Voldemort, and as expected, none of the others are talking. The entire Wizarding World believes now that Harry is no longer the miraculous boy who lived, but instead he is a nutjob conspiracist. Dumbledore, Hogwart’s headmaster, supported Harry’s claim and is now being demoted, with people insisting that he must be going senile. 

Since Harry only attends Hogwarts during the school year, he must spend most of the summer at the house of his aunt Petunia and uncle Vernon (with his obnoxious, bullying cousin Dudley). Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon despise magic as they are Muggles, or un-magical people, like the rest of us. (Harry’s parents were both wizards, but they were killed the night that Harry survived Voldemort’s curse.) Whenever Harry stays at his aunt and uncle’s, he is cut off entirely from the world of magic. Generally, his best friends, Ron and Hermione, send letters, but this summer, Harry only receives cryptic messages from them, saying that they are not allowed to tell him too much about what they are doing. 

Harry is thus feeling rather lonely and unhappy, when his predicament is much worsened by a sudden dementor attack. Dementors are foul creatures that feed on the despair of humans and can suck souls. Harry must use a spell to stop them from doing just that to his cousin Dudley (despite the fact that he hates him). However, underage wizards (like Harry) are forbidden from using magic in front of Muggles. As a result, Harry receives messages that inform him that he is to be tried for his behavior. So far it seems that everything is against him, and it is about to get a whole lot worse. 

Marshmallow’s Review: I have loved all of the Harry Potter books I have read (as well as pretty much every book written about this Wizarding World). The author has created a magical but realistic world with unique characters and undetectable plots. This fifth book is no exception.

As Harry is getting older, his world is becoming more and more dangerous, and the story is getting a lot scarier. Though I enjoyed this book immensely, and I watched the movie version with much excitement, I’d definitely urge caution for younger bunnies who might not yet be ready for this much tension.

The original version of the book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was already amazing, but this illustrated version is even more special. It is beautifully drawn by Jim Kay together with Neil Packer, filled with images and drawings relating to the story. The characters and events are portrayed in large, detailed drawings, each page is different, and I enjoyed diving into the images when I took my eyes away from the words. 

The Order of the Phoenix is the longest of the seven Harry Potter books, so this illustrated version is a really big book, almost like an encyclopedia volume. But it is beautiful to behold. I very much enjoyed returning once more to Harry’s world in this illustrated edition.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay and Neil Packer, 100%.
Marshmallow rates Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay and Neil Packer, 100%.