Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
September 3rd, 1940. Ten peculiar children flee an army of deadly monsters. And only one person can help them but she’s trapped in the body of a bird.
The extraordinary journey that began in ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom. Likes its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.
Hollow City is the second story in a YA trilogy by Ransom Riggs. They are unique (and cool) books in the fact they contain real, old photographs which intertwine in and compliment the story.
Anyone who read my review of the first book (here) will know that sadly I was slightly disappointed and not majorly enthralled. The book wasn’t badly written and was a fun enough ‘easy read’ but marketed wrong and I expected something creepy. The Miss Peregrine trilogy however are more of an adventure / fantasy series, following a group of peculiar children (each one has special power or talent) as they face obstacles and fight against their enemies.
Happily I did enjoy Hollow City a lot more than the first book. It definitely helps that it leaps straight into the action but the entire story is an exciting read and I felt generally it was just a better book. I let a lot of the first one wash over me and didn’t pay much attention to secondary characters or weird made-up words that exist in their world. But reading Hollow City I felt I really got to know all of the characters and their respective quirks. Some of the dialogue made me laugh and there were scenes which were far more nail biting and tense than any from the previous book and I really enjoyed some of the situations that the children had to get themselves out of.
I still wouldn’t say they’re the ‘most amazing fantastic incredible’ books ever, like how I felt when I read…..well I won’t say his name but he wears glasses and has a scar. Hollow City was enjoyable and fun but again (and I’m only being honest) it didn’t grip me hugely. Not to the point where I was jumping up and down on one leg in anticipation of reading the next chapter but it’s important to point out that these (young adult) books are not specifically aimed at me anyway.
The story genre will appeal to some more than others and judging by some stuff I’ve read online they do have a following. There’s a bit of a cliché (sometimes over the top) romance between the protagonist / hero Jacob and one of the peculiar children. Without sounding like a patronising old bat I can see this appealing to the teen market due to all the damn drama and ‘I’ll love you til the end!’ vibes. You know what it’s like when you get old though, you get cynical (unless it’s First Dates – I cannot watch that show without crying).
I must mention the vintage photos again as they are such a cool part of the experience. Riggs has cleverly written each photograph into the story and some of them are so mysterious (and scary) you can’t help but wonder the real life origin. All of the photos are genuine, donated by collectors and from Riggs own personal collection. And there’s a lot of them. It’s not like one or two scattered around, you see them every few pages. A lot of work went into the Miss Peregrine books and it’s admirable.
Though not quite as good as I hoped (and not everything can be Harry Potter….or Breaking Bad) the Miss Peregrine novels are a worthy read and I already have Library of Souls, the third and final book, on ice and ready to get go. I’ll be back soon to let you know my thoughts (and share more creepy photos).