I finished this book 480 page book in roughly 4 days–that’s how much I loved it. And I finished it while also juggling my toddler so I feel that’s impressive and should be noted. While long, this was a pretty easy read, definitely a page-turner if you’re already invested in the story of the Peculiars like I am. The gap of time between the 3rd book and this one was a little worrisome to me at first but Ransom Riggs does a fine job of getting you reacquainted with the main characters and the big events that occurred in the previous book–which I appreciated. Caution: light spoiler ahead–but I’m not giving away the details of the main plot.
The book opens with Jacob back home in Florida where his parents and uncles are convinced he’s looney and are on their way to take him to a facility to be committed. It’s a pretty grim start for our Peculiar hero. Just as they’re pulling out of the driveway, Jacob’s friends appear and literally save the day. Jacob is so stunned that he thinks he may be dreaming, but no, his friends are, in fact, right there in Florida–in his driveway, saving him from a mental institution. They make short work of his parents and uncles, dosing them with some sleeping powder while they all get reacquainted with one another and explain that they’ve come on holiday and want to learn about how to be like Normals. Part of normaling, requires normal clothes, so while on their way to a shopping center one day, Jacob, out of sheer habit, pulls into his grandfather’s neighborhood by mistake. Everyone wants to go to Abe’s house despite Jacob’s objections so that they can pay their respects and say goodbye to their friend. They make short work of tidying up the mess left behind in his home and while doing so, discover a hidden door in the floorboards. The door leads to a secret bunker that Jacob never knew about–a place where his grandfather conducted all his secretive peculiar missions. There, Jacob discovers that his grandfather had more secrets than he realized and he also discovers a log book detailing all of the missions Abe went on and all of the peculiar children he rescued and delivered to safety. Jacob is mesmerized by this new side of his grandfather and decides then that he’s going to follow in his footsteps.
Miss Peregrine, however, does not think that the children are ready for any mature tasks and so the peculiar children are all given various lackluster jobs back in Devil’s Acre to help with the Reconstruction efforts of Peculiardom. The Wights and Hollowgasts have all seemingly been defeated and left nothing but destruction and collapsed loops behind. After finding out the truth about his grandfather, some silly unimportant job just isn’t something that Jacob is willing to settle for. He wants to do more. He wants to make a difference like his grandfather did. So using the clues he found in the bunker, and some information from a peculiar he recognized in Devil’s Acre from his grandfather’s log book, Jacob is given a mission by one of his grandfather’s old associates. The mission requires Jacob to rescue an uncontacted peculiar in New York City who’s in danger, and deliver them to the safety of a specified loop. The majority of the book goes on to chronicle this journey as Jacob and a few of his friends set out to complete this mission across the dangerous peculiar world in America– a much different world than the one Jacob came to know in Europe.
I really love that this book gives us a look at Peculiardom in a totally different setting. We meet new peculiars, and learn a whole new dynamic than what we are used to from the previous novels. I also really liked how, in discussing Peculiardom in America, that the author briefly touched on what actually built America in real life–slavery. It was brief and part of a storytelling of another peculiar but it was nice to see the truth laid out for what it actually is, no sugar-coating, just facts that sound terrible–because they are. I mean you can’t really talk about the birth and shaping of America without mentioning Native Americans or slavery and I appreciate that Ransom Riggs did both. I found this book to be very intriguing and written exceptionally well with lots of colorful language to paint the picture of all of our favorite characters and their journey. I also LOVE the addition of color in this novel. The teal is just gorgeous and it’s not anything I’ve really seen in other books I’ve read. It’s inconsequential, but–details. Something else that has me totally jazzed–this book 110% ends in such a way that you just KNOW that there will be more sequels to follow. And, if not, I’m really upset at the cliffhanger this book leaves us with. Overall, I’m giving it 4 stars. If you loved the other books in the series, you’ll surely love this one too.