Friday, February 12, 2016

Fiction Friday (39)

For a combination of reasons, last year was the year when I read books that didn't appeal to me. I also read slowly, mostly because I was busy with a baby, and when I wasn't, I was sleeping or working. The result was several months of unenthusiastic reading. I decided to change that this year, and one way to change that is to read books that I really, really want to read and not just picking up a book because it's been sitting around on a shelf for long enough. My selectivity has typically been one of my skills, choosing things that I know that I will like. I hadn't been using that skill appropriately of late, but that's all in the past. To kick off the new year, I picked up a book that I've been wanting to read since I closed the cover on the last book in the series. I was rewarded not only with a story that I loved, but one that inspired me to make time to read it quickly.

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
(Quirk Books, 2015)

The concluding book in the Peculiar Children series that began two novels ago was not only magnificent in its own right, but the perfect installment to end a story that has engaged my imagination for the past few years.

While the last book suffered from the curse of a middle novel, one that simply bridges the beginning and the climax, moving the characters from point A to point B, this book was free from those constraints. Picking up where the action left off, literally where it left off, as if a pause button was pushed and with the opening of the cover, the scene starts up again. I will admit that it was a little disjointing at first and I found myself putting it down in order to refresh myself with the events I'd read last year. But once it all came back to me, I was off and running and read this book quicker than I've read any book in the last year.

One of my other qualms about the previous novel was the forced nature of Jacob and Emma's relationship. Thankfully, this time around their young love is once again infused with the honesty that made it so special in the first book. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that this story focused on the two of them as a team. It didn't attempt to carry a huge cast through the story and kept the attention on them as they struggled to defeat their enemies in the heart of Devil's Acre; a most excellently conceived loop of nastiness.

As with the previous two stories, the action scenes were masterfully written, but it was the the expanded elaborations of Peculiardom Mythology that kept me enthralled and turning the pages. The secrets revealed here filled my head with wondering long after the pages were closed for the night. The idea of the time loops and their connectedness was fascinating, and the ancient history of their struggles and eventual fall were extremely compelling for a sci-fi nerd like myself. Others may find those elements a bit boring, but they truly made the book for me.

What a magical feeling when a story begins two books prior and wraps up with such an wonderfully complete and gripping novel. Bravo, Mr. Riggs.

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