This is the third and final instalment in Ransom Riggs’ tales of Peculiardom. The story in the first book was based around old, mysterious photographs that the writer had collected, which also feature throughout the series. This way of telling a story worked very well in the first book, less so in the second and third – I’ll get back to that.
When I look at my review for book two in this series I could honestly have written almost the same thing for book 3.
When I picked up the first book it was full of magic and marvel and it was something completely new. The pictures were fascinating and added a lot to the story, the world and the characters were intriguing.
It sort of.. fizzled out a bit. I mean, Ransom Riggs remains a good writer, and the world he has built is still really intriguing, and it all hangs together. But.. there was just too much drudgery and chasing and fighting in the third book (and to a lesser degree in the second). I want to read more about peculiar people, their world and their abilities. Sure, it’s described along the way, but it’s by no means a main focus anymore. Plus many of the characters we’ve gotten to know in the first two books are not present for much of the third instalment. I don’t mind new characters being introduced, but it seems a little like they’re being introduced “for the sake of it”, or because there were pictures that roughly fit their description. Notable exceptions being Sharon, Bentham and Mother Dust (and of course grimbears!)
Like in the second book I didn’t feel as if the pictures added much to the story. Sometimes it feels as if unnecessary bits are added in in order to use a certain photo, and other times I feel as if the description preceding the photo just doesn’t match it very well – which pulls me out of the story as it forces me to think “that’s not how I imagined it”.
I LOVE the panloopticon – such a fun and clever idea. I also found the idea of the library of souls very interesting, but in the end I don’t think that storyline really reaches its full potential. It’s a bunch more fighting and escaping again.
I’m close to giving it four stars because I liked how it ended, but there’s just too much slogging through stuff that wasn’t terribly interesting before I got to that point.