The Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children movie, directed by Tim Burton drops at the end of September. In anticipation I have been on a push to finish reading the complete trilogy of the Peculiars. With the recent release of the short story collection, Tales of the Peculiar, my reading list is packed this month. My expectations for the movie are not that big, Tim Burton has a tendency to alter a perfectly good story, needlessly for the worse. I do like that kid from Enders Game though; good casting. Today, I will review the second installment of the trilogy, Hollow City, if you missed my review of book one you can check in here.
Warning: As always I do my best to avoid any spoilers, however, the nature of reviewing a sequel like this may give away points of the original that you may not want to hear.
Released in 2014, Hollow City picks up directly where Miss Peregrine’s left off, not missing a beat. Debuting on The New York Times Bestseller list, the YA fantasy sequel was praised as one of the best books of that year. With a seemingly endless collection of old vernacular photographs, author Ransom Riggs continues on his path of creating a fantasy world around the curious pictures. Including more images of landscapes, surreal animals, and war in the 1940’s, the time frame in which most of the story unfolds.
Starting off where we left off, Hollow City opens with a party of desperate peculiar children reeling from the events transpired the evening before. On the run from the nearly invisible and all powerful enemies, the children try to navigate their way to safety. With the assistance of an age old collection of Peculiar Tales they hope to reach sanctuary, only to discover the hidden worlds of the Peculiars are all but destroyed. With the help of an unlikely source the children find their best hope at recovering at least their small corner of peculiardom. Taking them on a dangerous course through a war-torn 1940’s England, Emma and Jacob lead the kids to the epicentre of the war in hopes of saving their mentor and motherly figure Miss Peregrine. But, just like the kids themselves, not everything is as it seems.
Where Miss Peregeine’s Home for Peculiar Children had a very long and drawn out introduction to the fantasy world, Hollow City is packed full of the wonder and adventure that made the first book a hit. Showing more of the underground world, and what these kids are capable of. Diving deeper into the characters that surround Jacob, as apposed to focusing strictly on the main character. This book is where favorite characters are made, with a few unexpected sources stepping up to the plate. Jacob himself struggles with where his place is and what he will do when the safety of his friends is secured. Putting the impossible love between him and Emma in an even more precarious balance.
The biggest flaw for me was the ending. With the book having so much magic and action, the lead up to the finale slowed down to a snails pace. Personal conflict was where the climax should have been. The surprise finish felt rushed, not having the same pace or feel of the previous action scenes in the book. The reverse on my feelings toward book one, instead of the first third of the book being slow and unnecessary it was the latter third.
The highlight is obviously the use of the vintage photography. Giving these books a unique and interesting feel. It is fun to have a look at the pictures that are in the story ahead of time, wonder how they have a connection to anything and see how the story progresses to the description of the unusual scenes. It takes a talented, creative mind to orchestrate this type of storytelling and Mr. Riggs pulls it off seamlessly.
Again, I have not read much YA, but I am glad to have picked up this series. I really enjoy the originality of the storytelling and world created. I give Hollow City 3.5/5, congruent with my review of book one. This is a fun trilogy that has exciting, interesting scenes. Reading through, you will be excited to reach the next photograph and see how this world connects. If you are looking for a dark but easy to read fantasy, the Miss Peregrine’s trilogy is the way to go. And I look forward to seeing how this all gets wrapped up.
Thanks booknerds, I have some reading to catch up on.