It took me some time to get around to reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the first installment in Ransom Riggs' series about a whole world of people with peculiar abilities. However, I liked it so much that when second book in the series, Hollow City, was released, I was so excited I snapped up a copy the very same day.
Hollow City begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and friends set out for London in a desperate attempt to save Miss Peregrine, who has been trapped in her bird form. They are pursued all the way to London with ever increasing aggression by wights and hollows, and Jacob begins to gain an understanding of his peculiarity and what it does. They also meet many new peculiars, including a peculiar menagerie, and begin to discover the truth about the wights’ diabolical plans for ‘peculiardom’.
Once again, Ransom Riggs delivers a well told, action packed adventure illustrated with new and even creepier vintage photographs. It kept me turning pages WAY past my bedtime every night until I finished the book. As I mentioned in my review of ‘Miss Peregrine’s…’ first-person, teenage boy is not my favorite perspective unless it’s exceptionally well done. This is one of those stories.
At the beginning of the first book, Jacob is an angry, unhappy teenager who doesn't fit in and has difficulty getting along with parents who, frankly, don’t seem too interested in trying to see things from their son’s perspective. The only person in his world that he is able to relate to at all is his grandfather, and he’s considered to be senile. When his grandfather is killed by a hollow, Jacob’s world becomes even more confusing and troubled and he sets out to unravel a cryptic note, his grandfather’s final message. In so doing, he travels to Wales and discovers the world of the peculiars.
At the beginning of Hollow City, it is clear that Jacob has grown as a person. The angry tone of a sullen teenager is gone, and Jacob’s focus is now on keeping his friends safe, accomplishing what they set out to do, and a blossoming romance with Emma, the girl who creates fire in her hands. Throughout their journey, Jacob continues to discover more about his gift and how to use it, and begins to worry about how his parents are dealing with his disappearance. He is torn between staying with his peculiar friends who need and understand him, and going back to his own world where his parents want him, but don’t understand him. Then, too, there is Emma, who Jacob is falling hard for, but they both know the only way they can be together requires that Jacob give up his world and Emma is reluctant to let him.
Near the end, Jacob has decided to return home, however a cruel twist (which I’m not going to tell you because it will spoil the book, you’ll just have to read it for yourself) decides the matter.
Hollow City is as full of twists and turns as ‘Miss Peregrine’s’ was, and the ending left me cussing. Well, I was tired, having been up past my bedtime for a week, reading as much as I could get in before ‘I really do have to turn the light out now or I’ll be drooling on my desk tomorrow’.
I mean it in a good way, though. The ending is most certainly a cliffhanger, but really, he does address the main element of the story, while leaving at a place where there is clearly more to come. And that’s all I can say about it without divulging spoilers.
Except that you better be writing the next one right now, bub! Don’t even sleep – just write!
At this point, I firmly believe that Ransom Riggs is a diabolical mega-villain! He is entrancing the world with his stories, fed to us a tasty crumble at a time, leading us to certain doom, but WE MUST GO THERE. And now, I have to wait. Again. Not only that, his suggestion in the 'About the Author' section that he may or may not be hiding under my bed gave me nightmares. I didn’t look, as suggested. He’s probably sitting at his desk right now, shouting ‘Made you look!” at everyone who did and giggling like the mad man he so clearly is.
Well played, sir. Well played. I salute you.
Mostly loony, generally harmless. Writer & professional smarty pants. Owned by an exasperated spaniel.