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 Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

A couple weeks ago, while Marshmallow was writing her review of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, she and Sprinkles looked up some information on the author, Ransom Riggs, and learned that he is married to a fellow author, Tahereh Mafi, who has a significant following of her own. When the bunnies learned about her first novel, Shatter Me (2011), they were intrigued by its plot, and so they decided to check it out. What follows is Marshmallow’s review of this book.

Marshmallow reviews Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.
Marshmallow reviews Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.

Sprinkles: So Marshmallow, you read this book rather quickly.

Marshmallow: You know I am a quick reader.

S: That’s true. What did you think about this book?

M: Let me first tell you what the book is about. No?

S: Okay.

M: The book is about a girl named Juliette who is living in a special institution, in solitary confinement, because her touch is deadly to other people. And she is living in a strange world, kind of dystopian.

S: That really sounds intriguing! So how old is Juliette?

M: She’s seventeen I think.

S: Okay. Do we ever learn why her touch is deadly? That is a weird condition.

M: Sort of, towards the end, but I won’t tell. You do need to read it yourself.

S: I am going to, for sure. I’m very curious.

M: Well, you won’t learn everything. But you will have a better idea of things. This is the first of a series of several books.

S: I see. Does it stand alone on its own?

M: Well, some of the conflicts and problems in the book are resolved, but many others pop up, and when the book ends, you are kind of left hanging, and need to read the next book. And then probably the next. And so on.

S: Hmm. Well, let me read this first and then see if I want to continue. How about you? Do you want to read the next book? Are you curious about what will happen to Juliette and her world? Did you like her as a character?

M: She is a bit too much into romance for my taste. Maybe it makes sense because she cannot touch anyone, until she meets this one person that she can. So I can see how she might be very excited, but then things do get a bit very touchy, kissy, and so on.

S: Hmm, so probably the book would not be very appropriate for bunnies younger than 12.

M: Hmm, maybe even older than that.

S: I guess we are seeing one of the differences between middle grades and young adult literature.

M: I think that’s right.

Marshmallow is reading Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.
Marshmallow is reading Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.

S: So let us get back to the plot. So she is in this confined space, but then she meets this one other person who can touch her and not be hurt. Does she ever get out?

M: Yes, there are some folks who want to use her as a weapon. One specific guy especially, and so they help her get out. And the rest of the book is about her learning about these people who want to use her, about the power structure around her, and so on. It is a dystopian world, reminds me a bit about Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

S: Yes, you used that word, dystopian, before. But what did you mean?

M: There is an oppressive regime. People have messed up the planet, and a group took charge claiming they’d help, they call it the Reestablishment, but they have not really. And they have erased all other power structures, all other institutions, and so on. Pretty depressing actually.

S: That makes for an interesting setting, I can see that.

M: Yes, I did want to know more, and maybe in the later books, Juliette and her friends will fight the Reestablishment and maybe take them down.

S: Yes, something to look forward to, I’m sure. So tell me a bit about the style of the book.

M: Sure. The whole book is written from a first-person perspective, Juliette’s. And she has a very distinctive voice.

S: How so?

M: When she uses numbers, she does not spell them out even when they are small numbers. She always uses the numerals. Except the chapter numbers in the book; those are all spelled out. She always writes in present tense. And she crosses out things and corrects herself. Of course you can still read what she wrote originally, so that makes her voice different from many other narrators I read.

S: I skimmed through it and I did see some lines crossed out. Even on the title page, there is a part which I am assuming is Juliette saying: MY TOUCH IS LETHAL, crossed out, and followed by MY TOUCH IS POWER. That is really interesting. Then the book reads kind of like a diary, right?

M: Yes, though, apparently, she also has a diary, but this is not quite the diary, I think. I’m not sure actually.

S: Okay, I am now really curious to read the book. Let us wrap this up so I can take it from your paws and get started. How would you rate the book in the end?

M: I’d rate it 90%. I really like the plot, I like the author’s writing style, and I really really want to learn more about Juliette and her story, but the mushy stuff is not terribly exciting for me.

S: That makes sense to me Marshmallow, thanks. What do you want to say to our readers as we close this up?

M: Stay tuned for more amazing reviews from the book bunnies!

Marshmallow rates Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 90%.
Marshmallow rates Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 90%.

Marshmallow reviews The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Marshmallow loved Soman Chainani’s School for Good and Evil series, and reviewed three of the six books for the book bunnies blog, way back in our first year: Quests for Glory, the fourth book, A Crystal of Time, the fifth book, and One True King, the sixth book. Then a couple weeks ago, she got her paws on a prequel Chainani wrote this year, Rise of the School for Good and Evil, and reviewed it for the blog. After reading it, she decided to reread the very first book, School for Good and Evil, to see how it would hold up. She was not disappointed.

Marshmallow reviews The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani.
Marshmallow reviews The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani.

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

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Sophie has waited all her life to be kidnapped by the School Master and be whisked away from her boring, plain life. Sophie lives in the quaint town of Gavaldon, where nothing is magical. Perhaps the only out-of-the-ordinary thing in Gavaldon is the kidnappings. Every four years, two children are kidnapped. One child is beautiful and virtuous; the other, cruel and ugly.

For hundreds of years, no one knew what happened to them, until the children realized something strange. The kids who were taken seemed to find their way into the storybooks. They just showed up years later in the fairy tales, but as fierce witches, beautiful princesses, brave princes, or violent villains.

We learn, as events unfold for the main characters of the book, that these children go to a school, specifically the School for Good and Evil. The kidnapper is the School Master. Villains, witches, warlords, and other Evil creatures are trained at the School for Evil, while princes, princesses, and other Good people are trained at the School for Good.

So in this backdrop, Sophie knows that one day she will be taken to the School for Good. She makes sure to do Good Deeds to show the School Master how good she is and why she should be taken to the School for Good. Sophie knows she will be the perfect princess. On the other hand, everyone in Gavaldon knows that Agatha will be taken as the Evil child. Agatha lives in a house in the middle of a graveyard, with her mother (whom everyone believes to be a witch), wears only black, and dislikes almost everyone.

Almost everyone. Sophie visits Agatha (as a Good Deed) every day, until the two become friends. Agatha slowly becomes more than just a pawn used to ensure Sophie’s place in the School for Good. While Sophie wishes for grandeur and eternal adoration, Agatha just wants one person who likes her, one person who could care about her “measly soul”.

Then the girls are both kidnapped, and Sophie’s dreams are realized… until she is dropped into the School for Evil, while Agatha is placed in the School for Good. Sophie struggles to get herself into the School for Good, while Agatha struggles to try to get them back to Gavaldon.

Eventually, the School Master tells them that if Sophie proves that she is not a witch, and if Agatha proves that she is not a princess, they can go home. He asks them: what is the one thing that a witch can never have, and a princess cannot live without? The answer: Love. If Sophie can find love, and Agatha can’t, they can go home. Given who they are, their roles seem easy to play.

Only one complication stands in their way: Sophie doesn’t want to go home; she doesn’t want to at all. 

Marshmallow is reading The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani.
Marshmallow is reading The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani.

Marshmallow’s Review: The first thing I should say is that I have read and reread this book so many times, my original copy of the book totally fell apart. For this review, I ended up getting a new copy so I could take pictures with it.

One of the reasons why I like this book so much and find it so interesting that School for Good and Evil isn’t just a different retelling of the familiar fairytales, but a whole new one. I think that this tale does fit into the world of other fairytales, and I really enjoyed reading about the world that Soman Chainani created.

School for Good and Evil, as probably everyone who has heard of it knows, is the first of a series of six. It is more or less self-contained, you could technically stop at the end and be done with it, but why would you? Chainani’s world is fascinating, and the stories get even better as you go deeper into the series.

The series is fantastical, magic, witches, fairytales, all are quite extraordinary. That said, the characters are very realistic. And some of them are very annoying (coughSophie,cough). I really enjoyed the way the characters developed throughout the series however. And I really liked how all of the characters had very big flaws in addition to their strengths. It was interesting to see that even fairy tale heroes have problems.  

Rereading the book after having just finished Rise of the School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, all I can say is that if you just read the Rise and are about to embark upon the rest of the series, you are in for an amazing ride. The prequel does not spoil the fun of this first book, though of course it does spoil a little bit of the surprise. It is not a big deal however, either case, you learn about the School, one way or another, and the story works either way.

I am excited that Netflix is developing a series version of the books! Here is the trailer / teaser:

I for one am looking forward to it!

Marshmallow’s Rating: 98%.

Marshmallow rates The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani 98%.
Marshmallow rates The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani 98%.