Book Review: Hollow City

Posted May 14, 2015 by Kara in book review, Kara / 2 Comments

Book Review: Hollow CityHollow City by Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #2
Published by Quirk Books on February 24th, 2015
Genres: fantasy, young adult
Pages: 396
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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three-half-stars

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.”

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.

I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children back when it came out. I had the opportunity to read Hollow City when it came out, but I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule at the time. When I was approached by the publisher again to review it for its paperback release, I accepted because I just had to know where this story was going to go next!

I gotta be honest. I liked the book, I did, but not as much as the first. I have several reasons for that:

  • The book was very slow at the start. It took awhile to get going. I truly did not feel engaged until around page 130-ish. Now if this had been a new author or the start to a new series, I would have put it down by page 60 but I stuck it out because I knew this author could spin a great yarn.
  • I read the interview at the end which stated that rather than write the story around the photos, he wrote the story and then searched for the perfect photo, and if it could not be found, he would tweak the scene to match. I have to say, this difference was really apparent for me. I didn’t feel the photos fit with the story as well as the first ones did, and I thought that while I was reading, before I knew his writing methods had changed. It just felt as if the photos were stuck in the book, adding nothing much to the storyline, whereas the photos in the first book really amped up the atmosphere and connected me to the characters. *shrug*

Complaints aside, I still did really think it was a great book. Once it got going and I was invested in the characters again, I couldn’t put it down. I was a bit concerned as I approached the ending and I wasn’t sure the author could bring it around in time and wrap it up so I would be satisfied, but I shouldn’t have worried, because he managed it brilliantly.

Oh, and, there is a batshit BANANAS twist in this book that might just make your head explode. It is not something I saw coming at all, but when I looked back at all the signs beforehand, I should have. So bravo on hiding that foreshadowing and excelling at the writing there. I was seriously impressed.

Halfway through the book, I was worried I wasn’t going to really like the book overall, but I did. I mean, obviously it wasn’t perfect for me, but neither was Miss Peregrine’s. Oh, and I am so looking forward to seeing what Tim Burton can do with the story Ransom Riggs has told.

If there is one thing I can say, reread the first book before you read Hollow City, if you have the time. It will help you engage with the characters better and remember how horrific the hollowghasts and wights are. I think if I had done that, I might have liked this a bit more. Normally I can get back into the story and remember what my brain forgot pretty easily, but in this case there is very little recapping and my brain just refused to dig up that information, finnicky thing.

Still atmospheric, still with excellent writing and storytelling, Hollow City is a solid effort in continuing the story told in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I just expected a little bit more. Hopefully I will get that with the last and final book of the trilogy, Library of Souls. I sure love that title!

Kara Sig Plant

2 responses to “Book Review: Hollow City

  1. Library of Souls!! Wow that is a fantastic name! I didn’t connect that well with the first book- felt like the pictures were forced and didn’t flow with the story like I wanted it to. I tried reading this book and it was really slow in the beginning. I expected it to start off with something cool, but I was too bored to continue 🙁 I might go back and try again at some point… who knows.
    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday- Authors I Really Want To MeetMy Profile

  2. I really liked the first one and I have this one on my Kindle, waiting to be read. I am glad I read your warnings about the slowness. I will make sure to stick with it. 🙂
    Cynthia recently posted…Friday FindsMy Profile

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