I promised this review awhile ago, but due to a car crash and me being super sick yesterday it was delayed. But here it is finally, my review of Hollow City, the second novel in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs.
Hollow City picks up right where the first one left off, so if you haven’t read the original you might be a little lost going into this one. However Riggs does a decent job of describing what things are and what’s going on even if you haven’t.
In this book Jacob and his peculiar friends travel to London (aka Hollow City) where they believe their ymbrynes are being held. Along the way they meet a band of gypsies who at first want to kill them, but then when they realize the group of children they’ve ensnared are peculiar they help them out and save them from wights. This is done because apparently one of the gypsies has a boy who is turning invisible, just like Millard. Given that in this universe peculiars are found everywhere, this doesn’t seem quite that strange. What annoyed me about this boy though, is that he’s never heard from again. Millard and the others make a promise to come back for him, but it never actually happens (in this book or the third–I’ve finished the series at this point). I think it would have been nice for them to have at least paid the boy a visit to see how he was doing and offer him the chance to come live with them.
Also in this book they meet another peculiar child in the middle of London. This girl, Samantha (Sam), can have holes blown through her and still survive (she’s depicted on the cover of the book). Her and her little sister are taking shelter from the bombs going off and though they aren’t exactly offered a place to hide, Jacob and his friends hide in her house with her. It strikes me as odd that in 1940 London this girl still had parents that didn’t flip out when they discovered their daughter was basically invincible in this way (the girl was 12. Her parents would have noticed something was off by then). In the book her parents had gone away to war, but her and her sister were waiting for them to return. Emma asks Sam to come with them, but at this point Enoch has offended her and she refuses to. Sam is either very stubborn or not thinking clearly as there are bombs dropping all around them and instead of accepting help she stays behind because ONE of the ten kids had offended her (and not even directly).
There are a few other things that I had trouble accepting in this book. Like one entire building being totally frozen in ice. Not made of ice like an igloo. But being surrounded by ice because a peculiar had frozen it that way. I find it extremely hard to believe that the temperature in London never got warm enough to thaw it, that no one thought to light a fire to melt the ice, and that there wasn’t any hot water anywhere that could be used to penetrate it. And this was a huge building, too. Everyone just stood around staring at it as if were the 8th wonder of the world, yet didn’t think to try to do anything about it? Yeeaaah that strikes me as hard to believe.
Having said all of this, I do think this book is worth reading. Riggs continues to do a fantastic job with pacing and world building. He is definitely an author that can make you feel like you are right there in the time and place experiencing what his characters are experiencing. Jacob discovers another “dimension” to his powers and it gives the story a nice little twist.
The book ends at the perfect point, too, when Jacob has a conversation with his dad in which his dad begs him to come home. Jacob tells him “No, Dad. I’m peculiar.” And it feels so very satisfying to read that, to have him say that. We don’t see resolution with his parents, or even hear his father’s reaction to that statement, until book three, but the line and how the book ends feels so good that it doesn’t matter.
Overall I give this book 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. It’s not bad, but it wasn’t as good as the first. Still think it’s worth a read though.