Now, the Ponderings on this particular series will mostly consist of me either explaining why I was so disappointed, the aspects that did please me, and whether this is a series you should read. It will be long, so it’s not for the faint of heart. You have been warned…. Also, there WILL BE SPOILERS, I’m sure this is a given when reading Ponderings but I always say it just to be safe.
And so it begins…..
Book one! At first, I was really weirded out. Never before had I read such a…… peculiar book. I didn’t like the characters, and I didn’t particularly like the feel either. Now, the lack of excitement towards the plot could have just been an adjustment. I hadn’t really read properly in a long while before this book, especially fantasy, so I think maybe I was just gettin’ back in the groove and all, but the characters, I REALLY didn’t like. Jacob wasn’t too bad, but I would have to say the his grandfather was actually the only character I liked.
The children were crazy, almost sadistic people. Now, I understand that technically, they are adults, they’ve been alive for years. But hang on here a moment. Yes, they are old, but have literally spent there lives in loops. The age that Jacob sees them as, that is when they started to live in loops, and living in loops in not living at all. So technically, they may be old, but not adults. Miss Peregrine of course is an adult, but the others really don’t know too much. There is of course to take into account their lifestyles before they entered their loops. Being ridiculed and hated, feared, for what they were. That is definitely a terrible experience, I’m just trying to explain why I believe that they are technically children.
It is understandable why these children are so psychotic, they have lived their lives in one day. I would definitely go mad, and I’m a person that likes repetition! So I don’t really want to complain too much on my dislike of them at first, because perhaps that’s how Riggs wanted you to feel at first. For Jacob, they definitely must have looked crazy.
Book two! This book was by far my favorite! I can’t actually tell you why, all I can think of is that it’s between everything. It’s after the shock of everything so you basically understand the basics and have gotten used to peculiars, but it’s before the end when everything is answered and solved. Also, the characters were far more likable. Now, why were they different this time? There are two answers. One, Riggs had a rough start and did better the second time, or two, that was the point. They were locked in one day, and were finally released and able to truly be themselves. You could see them for who they truly were. Also, I’m a sucker for cliché moments and drama, but I loved Jacobs ability. I mean, come on, I know it’s cliché for the main character to be so important, but man was that power cool. Of course I had one question that nagged me all the way up until the end: if hollows were an accident, why did Jacob inherit a power where he could see them, and only them. I won’t talk about this until book three, I just wanted you to know my thought process. Now, I truly can’t explain why book two was so good, because to be honest, it was just this book where Riggs struggled with his photos. They felt a little strained in this one, not too bad, but just enough to notice. However, I believe Riggs properly handled the give and take of information in the volume and it just sucked you up. You were given enough to not be bored, but not too much to where it’s silly. That could be just why it was so good.
And finally…. Book Three….. Now, this was a disaster. I was really really disappointed in this ending, I mean, the last time I was this disappointed was when I finished Wolf’s Rain. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about look it up, and if you do… you know what I mean…..)
Now, the funny thing is is that I think his best descriptions were in this one. Jacob’s time in Devil’s Acre was ASTOUNDING. I was blown away. Blown away by the descriptions, the depth, and the references to drug addiction and prostitution. It was crazy…. That was definitely my favorite spot in the whole series. Now, before you judge me by saying “Why that place, that’s messed up,” read it. It was really well done. It brought up so many issues that exist in life, that people try to ignore or just not admit too, and the harsh reality of life, and how hard it can be on others without realizing it. It was definitely refreshing to see Emma not be the brainiac. She thought she knew everything about peculiars, but oh boy was she wrong, and was it a slap to the face when she saw Devil’s Acre. Another harsh reality that no matter how much you see and learn, there will always be something you don’t understand, people you thought you knew but surprised you. Many good lessons in this volume, very important and it was nice to see it. So why was it so bad? Where do I begin…
The first mistake was The Library of Souls. “What?? That’s the best part!” Don’t give me that, I was excited too, very much so in fact, but the problem was not only did he give too much information, but he answered questions with more questions. When writing a book there are parts that you must be very careful with when writing, especially in fiction. When you make up an idea, it is very important that you make it somewhat believable, and you must explain everything. When I say everything, I don’t mean to say everything, because sometimes it is nice to imagine things for yourself, what I mean is that you must answer all the obvious questions. For example, let me bring you back to the very first question I had with this series: if the hollows were a mistake, how does Jacob have an ability to see them? This question must be answered in order for the reader to take you seriously. Now, this question was answered near the end of book three, but it was answered with more questions. The man who answered stated that he inherited his abilities from the Librarians of the Library of Souls, and that his abilities adapted over time. Here is how he explained it: “Just as someone who’s a gifted cellist wasn’t born with an aptitude for only that instrument but for music in general, you weren’t born only to manipulate hollows.” This makes sense… a little. But that throws everything out of proportion. Is he or is he not a Librarian? Emma brought this question up (not him being a Librarian of course, just that why haven’t others adapted to this ability if everyone was capable). It’s explained that Librarians had the ability to read souls like books, and that the reason there aren’t others who can see Hollows is because they adapted differently because of the situation. I do understand this a bit. To use a silly example I’m going to use Final Fantasy XV as an example. First, I played the game through and had my way of developing my characters. Then my sister played and she had her way of developing the same characters differently. Now, things were different, even the way the plot fell through a bit, different words spoken, different abilities attained. However, she began with the same exact characters and weapons, yet, we were different in the end. However, this opens the door to hundreds of possibilities. There should have been someone very similar to Jacob (I was actually waiting for that, waiting for someone else who could control Hollows, or at least see them), but no one ever showed up. Nothing at all. You can’t put an idea out and not follow through. Which leads me to the Library of Souls.
Now, this was pretty cool. The legend about it and the possibility of power. I’m a sucker for Libraries, so you can imagine my excitement when I realized what would be coming. However, I was rudely disappointed. The Library was… silly. Now, I can’t say whether he should have left it alone and mysterious, or if he should have just handled it better, I really can’t answer that. All I know is I didn’t like what I read. It was hard to understand why the Library disappeared, why no one talked about it more, and why there wasn’t at least one person who passed on their knowledge, like a family secret passed on from generation to generation. Heck, Jacob’s grandfather could have been a descendent and passed it on to him or something I don’t know. Next, it was the library itself. When entering the library there isn’t much left. Next to the fountain there was, but it took a while before they found a bunch. This doesn’t make since… If the Library of Souls is where every single peculiarity comes and goes from, how on earth are peculiars still around when the Library has nothing! No one to take care of it, not one to keep track and to help people, nothing… The part about the jars contain some type of blue liquid was pretty much it for me. The fact that the peculiar abilities could be taken away took away a lot from the story. It brought me back to X-Men, when they figured out how to take the powers away. It brings down the characters, makes them seem less…. Themselves. Suddenly that really neat idea of peculiarity becomes an object, just an element to the story. This could just be my opinion, but I really don’t like it when they take something like that and belittile it, make it less important.
Now, let’s talk about Caul….. Yes, Caul was extremely insane, Riggs did his portrayal pretty well throughout the books, but things got slippery at the Library. Now, Caul could have become more and more carless because of how close he was to his goal, after so long… But parts started to contradict. First, when Jacob stated he didn’t see anything and Caul said to shoot his leg, wouldn’t it have been better to shoot either Miss Peregrine or Emma? He had threatened them like crazy before, all of a sudden he wants to hurt Jacob? Wouldn’t that be pointless, he wouldn’t be able to walk, he could pass out from blood loss if not handled correctly, and obviously Jacob cared very much for them. Well, I guess you could just explain that with carelessness, but next mistake was his brother. Now, I don’t think it was that he didn’t trust his brother, it was probably that he thought so little of him he didn’t even consider him as a threat, which was a big mistake. But if he never planned to give him anything, why exactly did he bring him? Did he help them find the way? No. Did he help him get his power? No. In fact, all he was to him was a traitor. I’m actually almost surprised he didn’t kill him, he obviously didn’t care for him, and he knew he was capable of betrayal if it was beneficial for him. So why…? Next mistake was the taking of power. He was smart at first, and I’m surprised Jacob didn’t catch it when Caul wanted one of his men to take the jars first. The moment he said it I was laughing already. It was a smart move, with good results. The soldier died, and Caul knew that wasn’t the way to do it. However, after he saw what happened with the fountain, the shadowy figure appearing and revealing the peculiarity, he was certain that that was the way, and with no hesitation, stepped in. Wasn’t that careless? I mean, we know this stuff is dangerous, so let’s be certain. He just jumped in. It worked in the end, but what if it hand’t…. And I know that after the soldier died, no one wanted to step up, but he’s cruel, he could have just shoved one in.
Now, the last part is debatable. When he told his brother he wouldn’t be getting anything and he shoots Jacob. Now, at first I was like, hey smart move, but then I was like, wait, that’s it? I thought he wanted to control these souls and run experiments, mixing and changing aspects of the souls, creating the perfect, all powerful peculiarity. So why did he kill Jacob? (Haha, tried to). He lost his only hope at controlling the souls. Yes, he knew what to do with them, but he couldn’t grab them, heck, he couldn’t even see them, so why waste everything.
Now, I could talk forever about Caul. He was inconsistent as a villain, he was sloppy and really screwed himself up in the end. But perhaps this was the point, but I have to say, as readers, we want a good old fashioned villain in the end, not some crack pot who can’t even keep track of his own evil plan. I’m sorry, I’m being harsh and opinionated. If anyone believes differently, I’m truly curious as to why you think so. I could be missing something great, but right now, I believe he was poorly written. I could be saying this after having witnessed the villain in Final Fantasy XV (sorry I keep bringing this up, but I just defeated it recently so it’s fresh in my mind and I loved it). He was calm and collected, despite how much hatred he had for the Lucii. Everything was taken care of perfectly, he never faltered or made a mistake, and technically, in the end, he got what he had worked so hard for, because he made it where they had no choice, but technically good won in the end.
Now, why do I describe the final battle like a comic book battle? Well…. How could you not… The peculiarity that Caul chose was…. Titan? I can’t quite explain what he was, what happened was the he grew to an enormous size, and continued to grow, and he became almost impenetrable. Nothing could break through his skin. Then his brother chose something really weird, something described like an insect. “insect-headed, thousands of eyes to spare, feeding on Caul’s neck with long, flexible mandibles and battering him with great leathery wings.” Wait, what? Now I know there are no boundaries to Peculiarity, but they went for the oldest, most ancient of peculiarities, powerful abilities, so why insects… Either way, they grew into an enormous size, both towing over a mountain trying to kill each other. After realizing what Miss Peregrine was about to do he ran after her, yet despite his size he didn’t reach her in time. All the power in the world buddy and you couldn’t catch frail weak birds? Oh well, the point being is that with all the cool peculiar things Riggs could have done, he chose this all out titan fight. I was disappointed, I guess you could say I was looking for something a little more… intellectual. I don’t mean “Write more smart-like Riggs!” I mean to say that instead of two titans fighting with their fists, why not a little science? Isn’t that what Bentham was good at? He was a frail old man and to picture this in the end was strange, and he also was inconsistent. He never had a side, and I mean literally, he changed constantly, and with no good reason. He was with the children, then he wasn’t, then he was, then he wasn’t, and so on and so forth. So, with all his fickleness he suddenly decides to sacrifice his life for them, with the chance of him being stuck forever in a living hell. Now, if he had planned from the beginning to betray his brother inside the Library, then his story would make so much more sense, but I genuinely believed he betrayed the children completely.
The sad thing is that it didn’t really stop there, the ending with his parents was rough. His parents were actually pretty terrible people, and I really admire Jacob for going back to them. They were his family and he respected that. I really like that about Jacob. I was terriblely reminded of the parents in Frozen when reading about his parents. I was extremely frustrated with Frozen and their portrayal of parents. I’m extremely mad at people continuously bring down parents and making them look like heartless fools who don’t understand their children. I’m sorry, but if anyone understand their children more or who are more capable are the parents, they gave birth to the children for goodness sakes it’s their flesh and blood. Now, I know there are parents out there who don’t care a lick about their kids, I’m just saying, when wanting and capable, it’s the parents best suited for the job. They have lived longer than their children, they have seen more, they understand more. Don’t give me that teenage crap about how “You don’t understand me you don’t even try to! All you do it judge me!” Oh boo hoo, poor you. Did you every stop to think that maybe all that judging is to save you from making the same mistakes as them? Parents are wonderful things but they make mistakes too, and all they want is to make sure you don’t make the same.
Now, Jacob’s parents are certainly not the type of parents who should have had kids. I always liked to think everyone should have kids, but I came to realize that some people just really aren’t suited. His parents were two afraid of their image, they were to self-centered. Now, we all think about ourselves all the time, but his parents never even tried to consider Jacob, they only appeared too. I had really hoped for a change in his parents, his dad specifically, but that ending… Yikes. They shut him out, they didn’t even try to understand. I’m surprised, his dad had so many signs that gave it away, but I guess he just ignored them.
In the end it was a cheesy, sloppy ending. I was built up. I read comments on how the ending was the most satisfying ending they had ever read, and I was psyched, because you don’t always see that often these days, but I’m afraid this ending is joining Wolf’s Rain….
But wait!! Would I suggest this to others? Hmm, probably. I would just warn them about the ending. Despite how much I ranted on his ending, I really have to applaud Riggs for his creativity throughout the books and his wonderful imagery and description in Devil’s Acre. It truly was a peculiar series, and gave me a little hope that, though it may be rare, there truly can be something new under the sun.