Book Reviews

Hollow City | Book Review

June 28, 2017

Title: Hollow City
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #2
Author: Ransom Riggs
Genre: young adult fiction, fantasy
Published: January 14, 2014
Rating: 5 stars
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Summary:
The loop has been destroyed and Miss Peregrine is trapped in the body of a bird. The children are lost, exhausted, and feeling hopeless, still pursued by their attackers. They flee to London, hoping to find something, anything, to survive: the last of the peculiars, loops that have not been raided, another ymbryne that could help them. But terror is ever present and they must be careful on whom they trust, as wights hide in the friendliest of faces.

Personal Reaction:
Stunning, amazing, unexpected, nerve-wracking. The second installment of the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series, Hollow City, is as incredible as the first novel and even more! I would describe it as a novel entirely devoted to bouts of adrenaline and suspense. There are sudden plot twists at every chapter, sometimes between one page and the other. This book had me on the edge of my seat at every page, and it was an exhausting but extremely pleasant ride. I worried for the safety of all characters as it became clear from the beginning that nothing was outside the possibilities and whatever had to happen, no matter how catastrophic, would happen. The writing carefully unfolded the plot so that everything came at the right moment and with the exact dose of information, thus managing to both explain and withhold details.  The writing provoked a continuous sense of dread, fatality, fear and suspense; catastrophies are present from the first page to the last one. The ending was brilliant and set the ground for the last novel.

In Hollow City, the Peculiar world is expanded and developed, more characters appear and we learn how loops work and how it is to live as one of them. Riggs shows the dark side of Peculiardom, allowing characters to voice their continuous fear of the threat from the wights and hollows, the horror of death outside the loop, and the insanity provoked by living the same day for decades. This is further emphasized by the horrors of the war, which lurk in the background of the story until they also become part of the main plot. Desolation and fear permeate in the world of the peculiars, leaving them with no safe place to hide.

The darkness of the setting is extended to the new scary and disturbing characters we see. The emu-raffe reminded me a bit of the creatures in Gulliver’s Travels. We also get to know the main peculiars better and I must say that my favorites are definitely Claire, Olive, and the twins. As the youngest of the group, they are the most vulnerable but so cunning and brave that it melts my heart to see them fighting and facing their utmost fears to restore the world they used to live in. The twins seem to have come straight from the vaults of Gothic literature, especially because they are surrounded by darkness and in a way, inhabit it. The fact that they guard the entrance to the loop in a graveyard–as the entrance to the other world in Gothic literature–certaily made them eerie and mysterious. I hope that in the last novel we learn more about them.

The photographs are even more intriguing in this novel, most of which are worthy of the worst nightmares you can imagine. I liked that, at the beginning, the summary that often comes in series was given in the form of photographs, which held the essence of the previous novel and enough information for the readers to remember the story, without dragging unnecessary repetitive paragraphs. I also found very funny that Emerson was featured in the “non peculiar personae”.

I cannot wait to begin the next book and see what happens!

Recommendation:
I loved this novel as much as the first, so I 100% recommend it to everyone from ages 12 up. I would not give the book to younger children as it is quite mature and dark in several aspects that range from the peculiar world, the creepy animals, and the threat of wights to the very real horrors of the war.

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