The Desolations of Devil’s Acre (2021) – Ransom Riggs

Title:The Desolations of Devil’s Acre
Author:Ransom Riggs
Publisher/s:Penguin Random House
Date published:2021
Star Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐
Disclaimer:Penguin Random House South Africa kindly sent me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

The Desolations of Devil’s Acre is the sixth and final book in Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series, and though it’s been both a magical and strange journey, it is of course inevitable that the series would eventually come to an end. So it is with bitter-sweet feelings that we bid farewell to Jacob Portman, Miss Alma Peregrine, and the peculiar children Emma, Horace, Enoch, Olive, Claire, Bronwyn, Millard, Fiona, Noor, and Addison the talking dog. Of course not before the old gang is forced to go on one more adventure, and this time the peculiar children are determined that this will be their last battle.

“We were not superheroes. We were not born fighters, but had been forced into the role. We were simply peculiar.”

Jacob Portman and Noor Pradesh wake up in Jacob’s grandfather’s old house in Florida. The place where it all began, and almost immediately they realize that something isn’t right. It seems something terrible happened whilst they were searching for Noor’s ymbryne V, and whatever that terrible thing is, it has followed them from the loops into the real world, in real-time. Terrified and eager to get back to Devil’s Acre, Miss Peregrine and all their friends Jacob and Noor must get back into the loop, and continue with their mission to find the other seven peculiars that are destined to fulfill a prophecy spoken about in the Library of Souls, a prophecy that will hopefully save all of peculiar-kind. Oh, and Caul is back – Alma Peregrine’s evil brother whose army of hollowgast is stalking them.

Meanwhile in Devil’s Acre a mass of blood and bones, known as ‘desolations’ have been raining down on all the peculiars that have been hiding out in the loop. Peculiars from all walks of life, and from different loops are being forced to live together in relative harmony, and now they must also all band together to fight Caul and his hollowgast.

In the hours and days leading up to the final showdown, Noor is still trying to understand her role in a prophecy that isn’t very clear, and Jacob is only now beginning to realize just how powerful he truly is. Desperate to protect their home, and their friends, the peculiars are going to have to make some pretty difficult decisions, decisions that may or may not end in tragedy.

In this final book in the Peculiar Children series Jacob and his friends will walk in the trenches of war, meet a menagerie of talking animals, visit a few long-forgotten loops, meet some new peculiar friends, and finally come face-to-face with the dreaded Caul. Set between the stark contrast of sunny Florida and the dusty fog of Devil’s Acre, this final book has the peculiar children fighting one last battle – a battle that will hopefully set them free – free to be children once again.

“We were trapped and helpless. So, in a way, that piece of things doesn’t feel like it’s changed much. At least now we’re all together, instead of split apart in dozens of different loops. At least now we can fight as one. And we’re not helpless anymore. We have you, and we have Noor. We have a chance.”

Ransom Riggs created a YA series about children with peculiar abilities, and their protectors and teachers – the ymbrynes – and sprinkled liberally among the titles Riggs has flavored his novels with an assortment of old photographs that are as peculiar as his characters. These photographs are as much a part of the series as Jacob the boy who can control the hollowgast, Bronwyn the strongest girl in the world, Enoch, a boy who raises the dead, and Emma whose hands can conjure up fire. In the midst of it, all the ymbrynes and their wards travel between ‘loops’ – moments in history frozen forever – and it is often the photographs that lend the novels a hand in creating the deliciously dark nostalgia that permeates the atmosphere of the stories and their heroes. Sometimes, if you look very closely, you may even feel as though you’re right inside a living, breathing photo album – filled with the absurdities of the past.

Reviews:

A Map of Days (2018)

The Conference of the Birds (2020)

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