To continue our Peculiar Weekend, today we’re going to be talking about Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (the second novel in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series).
For those who haven’t read the first book, why haven’t you?! It’s well worth the hype if you can power through the first 50 pages or so. (Note: Stop reading if you don’t want spoilers for the first book).
For those of you how haven’t read Hollow City, I’ll simply say this, our Peculiar Children are back. This novel is obviously different, as we no longer have Jacob’s link to the present, we’re now in the 1940’s and that brings about a whole new host of challenges for the children. It’s as heartwarming and creepy as the first novel, with more intriguing snapshots for us to sink our teeth into – get reading! (Note: Stop reading if you don’t want spoilers for the second book).
Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty, as you’ll recall, we last saw our Peculiar Children floating out to sea to find an ymbrane for Miss Peregrine. (At least, that’s what we saw in the novel, don’t get me started on the movie!)
It’s nice that this book picks up exactly where we left off, there’s no need for a lengthy recap, we don’t have to find out any new information, the reader is in exactly the same position as the children – making them perfect for a good binge!
After the conclusion of the first novel, I was very concerned that with all the loop hopping, this sequel was going to be incredibly complex and difficult to understand. You can imagine my relief when Millard lost the map and my fears evaporated!
Obviously, unlike the first novel, this book doesn’t have that link to the present day, creating almost an air of a historical fiction story. It’s an interesting setting, that Riggs captures well. They meet evacuee’s, they’re stuck in the middle of a bombing and they’re chased my enemy soldiers. I’m a bit of a World War II nerd, so I really enjoyed the change of setting. Not only that, but it increased the tension of the plot. No longer were they afraid of just the hollows, but there was also the added struggle with the ongoing war.
This review couldn’t exist without talking about the new peculiar creatures we meet throughout the novel. First, there’s the menagerie. I have much love for the picture of Addison in his little glasses, not to mention that chickens with the exploding eggs (his writing process fascinates me, without the pictures how could a mind come up with this stuff?).
Then, of course, there’s the various other children, another invisible boy (that made me feel so sorry for Millard, I really appreciated his bit of character development through this plot line), the telekinetic girl and the echolocators (such incredibly strange characters, but really interesting to meet), the girl with a hole in her belly (again, weird, what on earth was really going on in this picture?!) and finally, the Peculiar incarnation of Frozone from The Incredibles. Although I liked meeting these characters, I’m glad that as a general rule, the core group of children is still fundamentally the same. Adding in all these extra characters would change the dynamic of the group, and that would be very sad indeed.
Before I forget, we must talk about Miss Peregrine, but what can I say? Being totally honest, I did suspect that the bird was not the headmistress, I didn’t think Miss P would have stayed a bird for so long, she has too strong a will for that. I was not, however, expecting the bird to be her brother, I hadn’t even imagined that to be possible!
If I were to say one negative thing about the book, it would be the same problem I had with the first novel. The beginning is always so slow! I’m not generally the type of person who gets upset by a slow plot line, but something about the beginning of these books just has me reading a paragraph and then getting bored. It’s most odd, as once I hit 50 pages, I’ll fly through the rest in a couple of hours – but it could take me up to three weeks to get that far! Does anyone else have this problem?
I also didn’t fully understand why all of a sudden Jacob and Emma started talking about him wanting to go home. To me, that just seemed totally unrealistic. He was never going to be able to leave Emma, he was never going to be able to leave the children, whether Miss Peregrine was back or not. To me, I just didn’t feel that this decision fit with the plot at all, and was just a way of tentatively linking the ending to the rest of the story.
Overall, I gave this book a 4/5 stars – the same rating I gave Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiary Children – I have the third book, Library of Souls, ready to go, but I’m thinking I might take a little bit of a break for now, maybe try something a little more contemporary.
What did you guys think? Are you a fan of the Peculair Children?