Title: Hollow City
Author: Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #2
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: February 24th 2015
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.”
This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.
Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
After everything that happened to them on Cairnholm – nearly losing Miss Peregrine, losing the orphanage when the time loop didn’t reset itself, and nearly being murdered by the wrights – Jacob and his friends are forced to flee the island. Jacob has made the choice to stay in 1940 and along with the other children and Miss Peregrine, still stuck in her bird form, they start rowing to the mainland. But the wrights aren’t going to let Miss Peregrine slip through their fingers when they nearly had her. The children all know they need to get to the mainland before nightfall but it’s hard when all they have are rowboats on the open ocean.
Then, once they make it to the mainland they discover they are anything but safe now. Still chased by the wrights disguised as soldiers they are forced to flee for their lives, running until they can’t run anymore. They think they find safety inside another time loop and while the wrights can’t follow them the hollowgast already inside the loop has them in its sights.
Once they reach safety among the peculiar animals, safe in their menagerie at the top of a mountain, they receive some terrible news. If Miss Peregrine is not returned to human form within the next two/three days then it’s unlikely she will ever become human again.
With very little time left Jacob, Emma and the rest of Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children need to make their way to London to find Miss Wren, the only other ymbryne they know of who hasn’t yet been captured by the wrights. But the soldiers are still close on their tail and it becomes all they can manage to stay one step ahead of them.
When they arrive in war torn London they are faced with monumental challenge. How can they find one ymbryne in a city of millions of people when she is already hiding from the wrights, and how can they do it in the few days Miss Peregrine has left before she is stuck as a bird forever?
Jacob has accepted his peculiarity and has stayed in the 1940’s to help Emma and the other of Miss Peregrine’s children, but he seems to lack confidence in his gift. Compared to the other children he has no proper knowledge of what he can do and what his limitations are. He is also very aware that one wrong move on his part could result in them all being captured and killed by one of the hollowgast they face on their journey. Still despite his doubts every time he uses his gift he learns a little more about it, and becomes a little more able to hunt down the hollowgast.
He has a steep learning curve ahead of him, and there are times when he feels very much in his grandfather’s shadow. Abraham was a great man and a great peculiar and Jacob doubts he can live up to that legacy. However in spite of everything he gave up when he chose to stay in 1940 with Emma he doesn’t regret his decision. He still thinks of his family and what he left behind but he knows he made the right choice for himself.
We learnt a lot more about the peculiars as people in this book. In the first I felt like they were more of less defined by their powers – Hugh the boy with bees in his stomach or Bronwyn the girl with incredible strength – but in this book we saw more of their personalities and they become a lot more real for me. Hugh became the boy who loved his bees, saw them as friends and mourned when they died, and Bronwyn became the mother of the group, caring for and nurturing the younger peculiars. They all worked well together as a team despite moments of friction; and despite being lost and scared and alone for the first time without Miss Peregrine in human form they all made a monumental journey.
We were introduced to more peculiars in this book as well; the peculiar animals, including Addison the boxer dog with a human mind and Deidre the emu-raffe and other peculiar children who were victims of time loops already ravaged by the wrights. It felt like the world of the peculiars opened up a lot more in this book and I loved learning about it all.
In the first book we learnt the basics of the peculiars; their history and their abilities. In Hollow City it felt like the world Ransom Riggs created for Jacob and his friends opened up so much more. We learnt more about the wrights and the hollowgast and saw a lot more of the time loops all over Wales and London which hid so many peculiars, all with their own stories to pass along. There was a lot of information about the time loops themselves in this book, Hollow City expanded wonderfully on everything we already knew from the first book. But in spite of all the peculiarities there is still the fear and devastation of the Second World War to try and cope with. The bombs which destroy streets and homes, the wreckage and the lives left in ruins seemed a shocking contrast to the wonders of the peculiar world.
I had a few issues with the plot in the first book, but in Hollow City there were no complaints I could make. The story moved forwards a lot quicker from the start; there was more tension, more action, and more of a plot to actually develop. I was on the edge of my seat for the last few chapters, and after the ending all I can say is that I’m glad I don’t have to wait for the third book to be released.
What did you think of Hollow City? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.