Shelf Control #206: A Map of Days by Ransom Riggs

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Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: A Map of Days (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #4)
Author: Ransom Riggs
Published: 2018
Length: 480 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

The #1 bestselling series returns with a thrilling new story arc set in America!

Vintage photographs reveal the never-before-seen world of peculiar America with a stunning addition—full-color images.

Having defeated the monstrous threat that nearly destroyed the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back where his story began, in Florida. Except now Miss Peregrine, Emma, and their peculiar friends are with him, and doing their best to blend in. But carefree days of beach visits and normalling lessons are soon interrupted by a discovery—a subterranean bunker that belonged to Jacob’s grandfather, Abe.

Clues to Abe’s double-life as a peculiar operative start to emerge, secrets long hidden in plain sight. And Jacob begins to learn about the dangerous legacy he has inherited—truths that were part of him long before he walked into Miss Peregrine’s time loop.

Now, the stakes are higher than ever as Jacob and his friends are thrust into the untamed landscape of American peculiardom—a world with few ymbrynes, or rules—that none of them understand. New wonders, and dangers, await in this brilliant next chapter for Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children. Their story is again illustrated throughout by haunting vintage photographs, but with a striking addition for this all-new, multi-era American adventure—full color.

How and when I got it:

I bought myself a brand-new copy right when the book was released in 2018.

Why I want to read it:

I really enjoyed the original Peculiar Children trilogy when I finally got around to reading it… but the story had a definite ending, or so I thought at the time, and was surprised to hear that there would be another three books in the series. When #4, A Map of Days, was released, I had to have a copy, but then I never felt particularly in the mood to read it. Book #5 just came out last month, so I suppose I should go ahead and jump back into this world. The odd photos add so much to the story, and I am interested in seeing how the new adventures play out. 

What do you think? Would you read this book? 

Please share your thoughts!

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  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
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Have fun!

Series Wrap-Up: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children

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I just wrapped up my series read of the Miss Peregrine books by Ransom Riggs. What a fun and frightful journey it’s been!

I first read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children when it was published in 2011. Such a unique book! The plot itself is created to incorporate a treasure trove of vintage photos, each one weird and trippy — invisible children, one girl with two reflections, mysterious shadows, you name it. The creepy, odd pictures are strewn throughout the book, each one relating to the plot in same way.

The plot? The plot centers around an ordinary teen-aged boy named Jacob Portman growing up in a pretty standard suburb in Florida. His family is rich, and he’s bored and fairly friendless. Jacob has a strong bond with his grandfather Abraham, but as Jacob has gotten older, he’s stopped having patience for Abraham’s fantastic tales of monsters and strange beings — the tales that he believed whole-heartedly as a small child. When Abraham is murdered, Jacob’s family believes that he’s had a mental breakdown, insisting on having seen a grotesque three-tongued monster and sure that his dying grandfather gave him cryptic instructions for some sort of quest.

Finally, in an attempt to free Jacob from his delusions, Jacob’s father takes him for a visit to Cairnholm Island off the coast of Wales, where Abraham spent his youth during World War II as a refugee from Poland. On the island, Jacob stumbles across a secret portal to another time — literally. He enters a time loop, where it’s always 1940, and meets the peculiar children under the care of Miss Peregrine, a motley assortment of kids who all have bizarre gifts — the ability to fly, create fire, and control bees, among others.

But there are monsters as well, and Jacob eventually must choose between returning to the dull life he had before or staying and fighting alongside this group of new friends who’ve started to feel like a second family to Jacob.

The second book Hollow City, and the third, Library of Souls, continue Jacob’s saga, with non-stop action as Jacob and the peculiar children must rescue their mentor, fight truly disgusting horror-show bad guys, and yes, try to save the world. As with the original, all three books include generous helpings of vintage photos that illustrate the weird and indescribable other world of the peculiars.

As I mentioned, I read the first Peregrine story back in 2011, and always meant to finish the series. I faithfully bought books 2 and 3 when they were released, but by then, a few years had gone by and I didn’t remember much at all. So finally, I decided that this would be the year! I revisited book 1 by listening to the audiobook, then continued onward with the hard copy versions of books 2 and 3.

Overall, I enjoyed the books very much… although I have to admit that the conceit wears a bit thin by the third book.

The first book is full of quirky charm and delight. It’s a brand new world, and the author does a marvelous job of building that world, establishing the odd array of characters and the mysteries of the time loops. It’s weird and fantastical, but pretty terrific all at the same time. And even though there’s plenty of horror and conflict, it definitely has the tone of a plucky band of outsiders coming together to confront the forces of evil. Go, weird kids!

Perhaps the problem for me was reading all three books in a row, but somewhere along the way the specialness wore off and the series became just another adventure story. A good adventure story, but not quite as special. The 2nd and 3rd books lack the quirk and delight of the new, strange universe introduced in book 1. The middle and end volumes are good fun reads, but the peril and chase scenes become a bit tiring after a while. Even the use of vintage photos starts to feel old by the end, shoe-horned into the story as a necessity rather than being an extra and unexpected ingredient.

My inclination lately has been to binge-read series, but I do believe that wasn’t the right approach with the Peregrine books. Yes, I enjoyed them as a whole, but I might have enjoyed them more individually if I’d taken breathers in between.

Still, I’m mightily impressed with the world Ransom Riggs has created and the peculiar people who live in it. I recommend this series for readers from advanced middle grade level up to adults. Anyone who enjoys fantasy worlds and timey-wimey set-ups will have fun with Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children.

And a nice bonus for me is getting to look forward to the movie version, coming in the fall of 2016! I do hope the adaptation manages to capture the quirky flavor of the books.

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Have you read the Miss Peregrine books? Will you see the movie?

 

 

 

Wishing & Waiting on Wednesday

Nothing like a Wednesday for thinking about the books we want to read! My Wishing & Waiting on Wednesday post is linking up with two fabulous book memes, Wishlist Wednesday (hosted by Pen to Paper) and Waiting on Wednesday (hosted by Breaking the Spine).

This week’s pick is a sequel — and don’t you just love the cover?

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine, #2)

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
(release date January 14, 2014)

In the interest of not spoiling the first book, I won’t provide the synopsis for Hollow City here. But in case you missed the first book, here’s the synopsis for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

The first book has a wonderfully twisted and weird plot, and those pictures! Getting a chance to view all of the odd and mystifying photos is a treat in and of itself. I really enjoyed Miss Peregrine, and can’t wait to see where the story goes in Hollow City.

What are you wishing for this Wednesday?

So what are you doing on Thursdays and Fridays? Come join me for my regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday! You can find out more here — come share the book love!

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