In the fourth and latest installment of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, A Map of Days, 16 year old Jacob Portman and his friends take on a new set of challenges: resentment from their peers, reconstruction of the European peculiar government, and the hectic fend-for-yourself design of the American peculiar society.
Throughout time, peculiars have been resented and feared for their special skills. Otherwise human, each peculiar has one power, ranging from invisibility to raising the dead, and everything inbetween. For that, they are hunted and persecuted relentlessly. For the peculiars, help comes in the form of an ymbryne; which is a peculiar that can shapeshift into a bird and create a replay of any day called a loop (a safe haven for peculiars as long as it is rewound by the ymbryne who created it). At least, this is the case in Europe. In America, ymbrynes are strangely absent, leaving the loops they created to be rewound by amateur loop-keepers.
After the defeat of one of the most dangerous threats to peculiardom in history (in the third book of the series), Jacob Portman goes back to Florida in an attempt to balance a non-peculiar normal life with his new peculiar one. After hearing what he has to say, his parents attempt to lock him up in a psychiatric ward. They are stopped in the nick of time by Jacob’s peculiar friends, who wipe any memories of strange behavior or stories from his family’s minds. After Miss Peregrine decrees that her wards should take “normalling lessons” from Jacob to learn how to blend in, the peculiars make a pit stop at the house of Jacob’s grandfather to pay their respects to the late Abraham Portman. There, Jacob finds a secret cellar and learns about his grandfather’s so called “business trips,” catapulting him into an adventure to step out of his grandfather’s shadow and shoulder his legacy at the same time.
This book is one plot twist after another, each more riveting than the last. Ransom Riggs possesses an incredible knack for storytelling that makes the novel both rich in detail and emotion, as well as easy to read. The use of early black and white photos as an accompanying piece and inspiration for the story is an ingenious idea that really contributes to the feeling that you, as the reader, actually are there. Riggs’ use of descriptive details alongside the old pictures really helps to captivate the reader.
I would not suggest reading this book without having first read the previous three volumes, as there are many details that don’t make any sense by themselves. However, the other books are just as fantastic as this one. I would highly recommend this entire series for those who can dedicate themselves to a new (and rather peculiar) world, because these novels are worth every second.