Book Review: A Map of Days (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #4) by Ransom Riggs

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with a map Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy:  A book with at least ...

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with a map

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book with at least a four-star rating on Goodreads

TW: Violence, kidnapping/abduction, death, blood, racism

I binged books 1-3 in the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series several years ago. and really liked them. I was quite obsessed. And when I finished book three, I thought the series was over. I thought it was meant to be a trilogy and it would end at that. I was satisfied. So when A Map of Days came out a couple of years ago, I was excited for it but also hesitant to continue a series I thought had ended. But someone had sent me the book last year, and I figured I'd get to it eventually. When I learned a fifth book was coming out and Ransom Riggs was hosting a local meet-n-greet and Q&A, I figured it was time to read book four. I also wanted to be prepared to meet the author, so I didn't feel goofy not having read the last book. So here we are.

Jacob Portman and the peculiar Peregine wards have recently succeeded in saving peculiardom from the wights, and are kind of famous now. Jacob thought he'd never see his peculiar friends again; he'd decided to live with the fact he would go back to just being normal. But now that they've showed up at his normal house in normal-town, Florida, he's shocked and excited. He's ready to teach his peculiar friends to be normal, but instead finds some secret information left behind by his grandfather and spurs out to follow in his grandfather's footsteps. 

It took me so ridiculously long to get into this story. Unlike some books that you can pick up out of order, or maybe even sometimes as stand-alones, the Miss Peregrine's series should basically just be read back-to-back and in order. It's been almost four years since I last read the original trilogy, and though I read a series synopsis before beginning A Map of Days, that didn't help. The books literally pick up exactly where the last book ended, which makes it way too difficult to try and jump back into the story. I also felt like it took three-quarters of the book for anything to actually start happening, and then it was over. This certainly wasn't my favorite book in the series.

I did really like that the book addressed racism, both past and present, though that was only about half a chapter out of the entire book. It's something that's relevant in literally any work of art and in real life, but it feels particularly relevant in this book. The plot often revolves around being an outsider and how peculiars are treated differently and ostracized because of who they are. Conversations about race and bigotry should be obvious staples in this series, but instead just got one small little snippet. It should have been addressed sooner in the series and should be addressed much more often.

"I had grown up in the American South [...], but I'd never really confronted its ugly past. I'd never been forced to; I was a wealthy white kid in a mostly white time. I felt ashamed that I had never really reckoned with it, never imagined what a simple road trip through my own state might've been like for anyone who didn't look like me. And not just in the past. Just because Jim Crow was dead didn't mean racism was." - A Map of Days, Ransom Riggs

This hasn't been the best book of the series and I felt had a lot more potential. At almost 500 pages, it's the longest book in the series so far, but seemed to have the least amount of content. I think it could've been condensed and added into another book in the series. Since each book picks up where the last left off, it would have worked really seamlessly. Instead, this seemed to be a bit of an odd book that was lacking much a plot. It's necessary to read if you plan to venture past book three, but in and of itself, wasn't much for content.

Goodreads rating: ★★★

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