Size Doesn’t Matter (118): Library of Souls; The Burning Page

Size Doesn’t Matter (118): Library of Souls; The Burning PageLibrary of Souls by Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine #3
Published by Quirk Books on September 22, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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A boy with extraordinary powers. An army of deadly monsters. An epic battle for the future of peculiardom.

The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. 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. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.

On the plus side, I’ve finished my second series of 2016. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan. It’s too bad because my first time through I quite enjoyed the first two books. Now, though, I’m looking with a more critical eye and I’m not that impressed with Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. Library of Souls serves as a good example of why this series doesn’t live up to its potential: weak plotting, bland characterization, and clinging with a death grip to a terrible ship.

By far, plot is the biggest problem of this trilogy. The reason the first book works and the latter books do not is that it has a very simple, straightforward plot. While simple, it does work. In both Hollow City and Library of Souls, the plots depend on a lot of really convenient things occurring. That is not good plotting.

At the end of Hollow City, Jacob discovered the ability to talk to and control Hollows. Throughout Library of Souls, he’s able to use this ability as little or as much as is needed to make the plot work. If things are going to smoothly, he forgets how to speak Hollow; if straits are dire, he suddenly masters it with no effort. This is absolutely the worst thing to do with magical powers.

As happened in Hollow City, Jacob and Emma bump into people who tell them what to do and give them the tools they need to accomplish their mission of saving peculiardom from the wights. In another example of the plot unfolding conveniently, they’re introduced to Bentham, the other of Miss Peregrine’s brothers, who helps them get into the wight’s fortress, turns on them when the plot would have resolved to quickly, and then switches back to their side when they all would have died. Something like this could have worked with actual characterization, but this dude is so obviously a walking plot point. The whole plot is lazy.

The characters continue to be underwhelming. I at best mildly care about some of the peculiar children, but the ones I was most interested in were not the ones Riggs cares about. Hugh, Fiona, and Millard are largely ignored; Fiona, in fact, disappears entirely and we never learn her fate. Also, with such a huge group of main characters, the fact that precisely none of them dies (or suffers a loss of part of their soul or anything) in this epic quest to save peculiardom (except maybe Fiona?????) is bullshit.

In a final swoop of utter convenience, the solution to wiping out Caul also magically cured the peculiar kids of the aging forward problem, meaning that Jacob can have his life in Florida and Emma too. I’d have had a smidgen more respect for this book if he and Emma had ended up apart, but no this creepy ass ship remains to the end.

The concept of this series is great, but the execution very much does not live up to that.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (118): Library of Souls; The Burning PageThe Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman
Series: The Invisible Library #3
Published by Roc on January 10, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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Librarian spy Irene and her apprentice Kai return for another “tremendously fun, rip-roaring adventure,” (A Fantastical Librarian) third in the bibliophilic fantasy series from the author of The Masked City.

Never judge a book by its cover...

Due to her involvement in an unfortunate set of mishaps between the dragons and the Fae, Librarian spy Irene is stuck on probation, doing what should be simple fetch-and-retrieve projects for the mysterious Library. But trouble has a tendency of finding both Irene and her apprentice, Kai—a dragon prince—and, before they know it, they are entangled in more danger than they can handle...

Irene’s longtime nemesis, Alberich, has once again been making waves across multiple worlds, and, this time, his goals are much larger than obtaining a single book or wreaking vengeance upon a single Librarian. He aims to destroy the entire Library—and make sure Irene goes down with it.

With so much at stake, Irene will need every tool at her disposal to stay alive. But even as she draws her allies close around her, the greatest danger might be lurking from somewhere close—someone she never expected to betray her...

The Invisible Library series continues to be an action-packed delight full of humor and bossness. The Burning Page steps up the tension and increases the squad goals.

My favorite thing about this series is how much I love the cast and how much the cast loves each other. It’s one of those series, like The Raven Cycle or Jellicoe Road where the whole cast is basically in love with one another. I ship Kai and Irene a bit more than anything else, but like omg there’s so much sexual tension coming from every corner. And the fact that Kai said he would be open for an OT3 about killed me tbh.

Plot-wise, Irene’s facing down Alberich again, but he’s scarier this time. Mostly because now he’s taking on the whole Library and the Library’s not just slapping that challenge down like nbd. Discontent’s beginning to foment among the ranks big time, and I think there could be some fascinating internal strife to come. The whole series has been about Irene beginning to question some of the ways in which she’s lived her life. It began with her closeness to Kai and to Vale, with having people she loves more than her orders and more than books. Now, much as she distrusts Alberich, she’s starting to wonder if there are things she doesn’t know about the Library. Big stuff! View Spoiler »

Seriously, though, these books are massively fun. Fellow book nerds, you will enjoy the shit out of them, so get on it.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

2 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (118): Library of Souls; The Burning Page”

  1. Rebecca says:

    Yes, I wasn’t a big fan of The Library of Souls either. It was okay, but it didn’t seem well thought out. I liked Sharon, at least – a play on Charon the ferryman – that was funny.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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  2. Well, looks like I made a good decision to quit the Riggs series. I loved the second one at first but in retrospect there were a lot of issues. I was going to re-read the first two before the third but I think imma call it good. The perfectly wrapped up ending without any casualties or even injury is a bit ludicrous.
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – The Readymade Thief by Augustus RoseMy Profile

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