Goodreads: Hollow City
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #2
Source: Quirk Books
Published: February 24, 2015
This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.
Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.
Note: I was sent a beautiful box set of the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series for review by Quirk Books, as you can see in the photo above. In addition to the three books, this box set comes with a collector’s postcard featuring some of the characters, using the type of vintage photographs found throughout the books themselves. My review of the first book can be read here, and this post is just a review of book 2. Bonus content in this edition of Hollow City includes: a sneak preview of the third Peculiar Children Novel, Exclusive Q&A with Ransom Riggs, and never-before-seen peculiar photography.
Hollow City begins in medias res, right where Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children left off. There is some minor exposition to help jog the memories of readers who might have read the first book a while ago, but mostly things start at a gallop, which I liked. The children are on the run/on a quest to save their headmistress (odd how those two things overlap), and starting the book at a fast pace builds momentum that continues throughout the novel.
I liked that in this installment Riggs shows readers more of the world of the peculiars. The children leave their island loop and get to visit a variety of other loops and places on the mainland. We also get to learn more of the history and legends of the peculiars. Some things just seemed highly convenient (you can telephone loops?), but overall seeing more is fascinating.
There’s also some more character development here of Miss Peregrine’s charges. As those who read book 1 know, Miss Peregrine is out of commission, which means that the children are in charge. They have to make decisions and take actions without the ability to consult an adult or the duty to obey any adults, which helps draw out each of their personalities. Unfortunately, I still think Jacob is a bit of a flat main character (even though he is developing his peculiar abilities, which, thankfully, are more complex than I was led to believe in book 1), and I still think the romance he has with Emma lacks any chemistry whatsoever. However, the secondary characters really shine here, and it was great getting to see more of them.
One of my struggles with the photography in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was that I didn’t think the photos Riggs chose to represent the characters always matched the character descriptions in the book. I actually thought that his photo-picking abilities were more on point in Hollow City, though there is a shift here away from photos of people (though there still are many) to photos of things like zeppelins and horses and houses. Overall, my feeling is still that including vintage photographs is a unique concept for a YA series, but I could really take or leave them. A photo of zeppelins, in the end, just doesn’t add much to my experience of reading the book.
This is one of those books that, objectively, I think counts as a pretty strong fantasy novel. On a personal level, I didn’t connect with it quite as much as I hoped, but I think others would enjoy it and feel confident recommending it. The ending also takes enough of a twist that I’m curious to see how things wrap up in book 3.