Library of Souls is the third book in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series. It continues to follow Jacob as he tries to rescue Miss Peregrine and defeat the wights. The first two books in the series had a fair amount of violence, but this book has quite a bit more. Some of the violence and other mature topics may be quite disturbing, so I think this would be better for older teens/young adults. I gave this book three hoots because while some of the themes of found family and family relationships do take a backseat to the action in this book, they are still there and relevant for foster and adoptive care.
At the end of Hollow City, Jacob and Emma are separated from the rest of the peculiar children, who are captured by wights. Library of Souls follows Jacob and Emma’s action-packed adventure to rescue their friends. They have to locate their friends, Miss Peregrine, and the other ymbrynes, traveling through space and time to find them, and meeting many new peculiar friends along the way. As with the first two books, there are vintage photographs interspersed throughout the book. Initially, Library of Souls was intended to be the last book in the trilogy, and it definitely is a solid ending to the initial story of Jacob and his friends. However, given how open the ending is, I’m glad that there were more books written! Overall, I enjoyed this book, though perhaps not as much as the previous books in the series.
** Spoilers Could Be Ahead **
As in the first two books, Jacob struggles with his relationship with his parents. He feels like they don’t know him at all and since they are “normal” and he is peculiar, they will never understand him. Across all three books, Jacob battles with wanting to stay with his found family who do have his best interests at heart and missing his biological family even though they don’t understand them. This may be relevant for some foster and adoptive families to discuss. We also learn about Miss Peregrine’s two brothers and the difficult relationship they have had. There is a lot of jealousy of Miss Peregrine by her brothers, particularly Caul, and he credits this as the reason he turned into a villain. Sibling relationships can be challenging in all families, including foster and adoptive families, so this book can be a good tool to start a discussion on healthy sibling relationships.
As mentioned above, Jacob struggles with his relationship with his parents. We also learn about Miss Peregrine’s relationships with her brothers. It can be very difficult to maintain healthy relationships with people we love who may not have our best interests at heart. It can be equally, if not even more, difficult to end those relationships when they become extremely toxic. There are several points in this book that discuss these relationships, and it can be a tool for you to discuss maintaining healthy relationships with your child.
Jacob and his friends have experienced a great deal of trauma over the course of these three books. Jacob and Emma both are repressing it in order to get on with their mission of rescuing their friends, but it takes a toll on them, and the other peculiar children, in different ways. Start a discussion about how people deal with trauma in different ways, and talk about some healthy ways to cope with it. As we know, 100% of foster and adoptive children have been through trauma, and many may not have had time or space to process it. They may be repressing it just to get on with life like Jacob and Emma do. This book and your discussion can be the space for them to start to talk through and process.
There is a LOT of violence in this book. Ultimately, it is a fantasy adventure novel, and there is a lot of violence that goes along with it. A number of wights, peculiars, and normals are killed in the course of the book. The wights are also experimenting on peculiar children and extracting their souls, which can definitely be disturbing. The hollows kill and maim quite a few people, and one is even forced to fight peculiars in a cage match. There are severed heads on posts that guard the bridge to the wights’ fortress and though they are somewhat comedic, they are still severed heads. Jacob and Emma also get beat up quite ferociously.
There are also a number of instances of animal abuse. When Jacob and Emma first enter Devil’s Acre, they come across some boys who are torturing a dog by lowering him into water repeatedly. Several peculiar animals are killed. Grimbears, lions, tigers, and other animals are forced into cage matches with peculiars. Grimbear cubs are used as “training fights.”
In Devil’s Acre, there is a group of people who are addicted to ambrosia, which we find out later contains bits of peculiar souls. These individuals are not described kindly, and they also beat up Jacob and Emma, the former nearly to death, because they interfere with the wights dropping off the ambrosia.
In Devil’s Acre, peculiar children and adults are sold into slavery. They are available in shops for people to buy or rent as needed. It reflects the culture of the wights and Devil’s Acre, but still may be upsetting to some.
Julie is a Central Virginia native who currently resides in Rochester, New York. She received her Masters of Arts Degree in Psychology from the College of William and Mary in 2012 and is currently a PhD candidate in Epidemiology at the University of Rochester. Julie has worked in various mental health research positions since 2012 and is passionate about researching how physical health, mental health, and trauma experiences interact. When not working, Julie enjoys reading, cooking, spending time with her cats, and watching videos about otters (her favorite animal).
**Transfiguring Adoption is a nonprofit organization seeking to nurture growth in foster and adoptive families by giving a HOOT about their families. Transfiguring Adoption does not intend for its reviewers nor its review to be professional, medical or legal advice. These reviews and discussion guides are intended to help parents to better be able to connect and understand their children who come from traumatic backgrounds.