The Conference of Birds by Ransom Riggs

With his dying words, H—Jacob Portman’s final connection to his grandfather Abe’s secret life entrusts Jacob with a mission: Deliver newly con­tacted peculiar Noor Pradesh to an operative known only as V. Noor is being hunted. She is the subject of an ancient prophecy, one that foretells a looming apocalypse. Save Noor—Save the future of all peculiardom.

With only a few bewildering clues to follow, Jacob must figure out how to find V, the most enigmatic, and most powerful, of Abe’s former associates. But V is in hiding and she never, ever, wants to be found. (taken from Amazon)

                   A few things I mention below will be spoiler-adjacent. I don’t think they give away any important plot points, but reader beware.

I was disappointed with this book. That’s not to say it was bad; it wasn’t. It just wasn’t good. The entire book just felt like filler, a big breath taken between scene changes. It honestly seemed like a waste of time.

Ransom Riggs continues to improve as a writer. His skill wasn’t the issue here. It’s just that a good chunk of the book was spent trying to figure things out. It was a “hurry up and wait” situation, which left me wondering what the point was. I felt like a large part of the book could have been condensed and added to either the previous book, or the next book in the series.

I did enjoy seeing more of the entire group of peculiars again. Several of them were missing from A Map of Days (the previous book in the series), so I was happy to have them make an appearance this time. I also enjoyed learning a bit about Noor and seeing how she adjusted to her new life.

There were fewer photos in this book, which was an interesting development. They were what originally drew me to the series in the first place. They’re not necessary, but I missed having them scattered throughout the book.

I appreciated how the world was opened up. By adding new areas to explore, and new peculiars to meet, Ransom Riggs has created the opportunity to really build and expand his world. Unfortunately, he also did something that really bothers me in books: he reused villains. I loathe seeing a villain defeated just to have him show up again (Cassandra Clare, anyone?). It makes a series stagnant.

I hope that in future books. the author will test the boundaries he’s set for himself and introduce new scenarios involving different problems to solve, and – gasp!- maybe even a new villain or two.

I give this one a resounding “meh.”

10 thoughts on “The Conference of Birds by Ransom Riggs

  1. I keep toying with reading this one, but I’ve not heard anything positive about it, and honestly the series already felt finished to me so I can’t quite reconcile myself to the need for another entry. But, at the same time, I really enjoyed the Peculiars, and wouldn’t hate a chance to catch up with them.
    Idk, it’s on my TBR, but definitely not a priority, I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

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