Hai ‘lil Peculiars!
It’s been a very long time since I left Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children in Library of Souls and I didn’t realise how much I missed them until I start this one.
Blurb 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.
Opening this book and reading the first lines felt like coming home to a world I didn’t even realise that I considered to be home.
The review does not contain spoilers for A Map of Days but does have spoilery references to the previous three novels in the series.
I opened A Map of Days and within the first few lines, the entire story came flying back to me. It has to have been a good year or so since I read Library of Souls and it showed.
Since a huge part of Jacob’s time with the peculiar children, when they weren’t saving the peculiar world, revolved around his and Emma’s relationship; I wanted there to be some form of relationship drama in this novel.
That was my only expectation going into the novel. Aside from that, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of storyline, although I wasn’t disappointed. You can’t be disappointed with this series.
After all the chaos in the past novels, one seems to forget that Jacob is only a teenager. This was helpfully stated at the beginning of this novel, which grounded and kind of set the mood for the entire story going forward. The fact that he is only sixteen is hard to remember when you’re reading about all the cool things he did.
One of the things that will probably be repeated heaps in this review is Riggs’ ability to not bore the reader, instead, branching off on another storyline within the universe he created.
I loved how instead of going into the clean-up efforts within the peculiar world, the focus was put on Jacob and his grandfather, Abe. Abe’s life was uncovered within this story, putting a strain on Emma and Jacob’s relationship as both were faced with their loss and experienced mourning.
Emma and Jacob’s relationship was so well done. It was handled well and they acted like the mature adults they are, understanding that both of them are mourning in their own way but they still need to lean on each other to get through this.
This exploration into Abe’s life let us see Jacob as the person he was with his grandfather, as well as who Abe was when with Jacob. We also see Jacob act as one would when they’ve uncovered a secret from someone who they were close to. Uncovering the secrets and a hidden double-life of someone whom Jacob considered to be his best friend in the world, would surely cause him to overthink and possibly overreact.
The fact that Jacob had such a strong desire to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and feel like he has a relevant role in the peculiar community was very immature but also very ‘coming of age’ of him. Which is really what this story is about. Jacob trying to find where he belongs in this world, but also trying to somehow make it up to his Grandfather.
I found that the entire story arc of this novel was more focused on Jacob, his path in life and less on the peculiar children as per the previous three novels.
I like to think that the children had already done their maturing and had their coming of age story arcs despite being inside a loop, and now it’s Jacob’s turn. Besides, the children don’t have much of a chance in the modern world without help. Where that would be funny, it wasn’t the story we needed.
Jacob’s rebellion in this story is, I find, mostly due to the fact that he doesn’t particularly align to a certain loop or isn’t ‘in debt’ to a particular Ymbryne as the other peculiar are. The other peculiars owe their lives and survival to Miss Perigrine, where Jacob does not. He has no alignment or loyalty to a Ymbryne and therefore, is more likely to act out and attempt to find himself in this hateful, messed-up world.
In the start, the peculiar children just tagged along with Jacob. This felt slightly forced and I think it was suppose to, since Jacob just wanted his friends to feel included, where he would have just preferred to be running off with Emma.
Jacob was the real star of this story. I wasn’t really sure how to feel about this and the whole change in direction, but the amazing ending really sold me on it. I liked how the story felt older, more coming of age and like Jacob is finding himself after being wronged.
From here on out, it looks as if the story will be taking a different direction. This is great because Riggs is expanding the universe without milking the same storyline and ruining the characters for us.
I liked how the story felt older and more focused on finding one’s path in life, making mistakes and growing up. This actually lines up with the fact that the peculiar children from Miss Perigrine’s loop can now grow older in the modern timeline. Although where they haven’t physically grown up, mentally they’ve gone through the stage of life Jacob is dealing with. They’ve found themselves.
Since they have had that find-myself-and-make-the-teenager-mistakes phase of their life, it isn’t really worth focusing on them ‘growing older’. Jacob is going through this for the first time and is making all the mistakes akin to someone trying to understand their place in the world. Both of them.
I said it earlier and I’ll say it again, but the change in direction that the story took, especially at the end, really helps Riggs not exhaust the story and keep readers engaged. I want more!
★ Rating ★
I rated this book a ★★★★★ (5/5 stars). I need to get my hands on a copy of the next book, A Conference of Birds which has actually been on shelves for a while now. Once you read this book, the title of the next one makes a little sense and as someone who doesn’t read blurbs, my guesses of the plot have me excited!
See you back here on Monday’s (book reviews), Wednesday’s (storytime/ writing updates) and Saturday’s (other bookish content).