Hollow City by Ransom Riggs Review

The second novel of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Hollow City

From a collection of old found photographs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was turned into a fantastic fantasy adventure novel for young adults (and later a film). Now the story by American author Ransom Riggs continues on its journey in Hollow City, after we learned that the Jake and nine other peculiar children fled their island in Wales, and the safety of their Loop, in September 1940, for another time travelling fantasy adventure story.

Hollow City picks up from the point of exactly where the first book ended with the children escaping their loop. Their loop has been invaded and attacked by Hollows and Wights forcing Jacob Portman and his newfound family of peculiar children and Miss Peregrine, who is now stuck in bird form, to flee Wales. With meagre belongings they start the crossing from their island off the coast of Wales to the mainland of England, a sea crossing that is fraught with danger with rough seas and the added danger of the Wights hunting for them. They are heading for the capital of the peculiar world, London, to see if they can find a way to turn the shapeshifting headmistress Miss Peregrine back to human form. Word War II is in full swing, and the trip is going to be a very tense and dangerous one, with no guarantee of a good outcome.

The cast of characters are:

  • Jake Portman is the main hero of the story and is a 16-year-old American boy who has travelled back in time to 1940. He has an emerging peculiar talent in that he can sense and track Hollowgasts.
  • Emma Bloom is Jake’s love interest, and her peculiar talent is that she can make fire with her hands.
  • Bronwyn Bruntley is a very strong young lady; she is stronger than any adult you will have ever met.
  • Millard Nullings is a scholar of all things peculiar, and his peculiar talent is that he is invisible.
  • Olive Abroholos Elephanta is so light that she can float on air and has to be weighted down.
  • Horace Somnusson can see the future with pre-monitory visions and dreams and loves to be well dressed.
  • Enoch O’Connor is a strange boy obsessed with death and destruction and he can animate the dead for brief periods of time (usually just small animals and toy soldiers).
  • Hugh Apiston is able to command the bees and has a colony that live within his stomach.
  • Claire Densmore is the youngest of Miss Peregrine’s charges and has an extra mouth at the back of her head (hidden beneath her hair).
  • Fiona Frauenfield rarely speaks but has the peculiar gift of being able to make plants grow a lot faster.
  • Miss Alma Lefay Pergrine is the protector of the peculiar children within her loop. She is an Ymbryne and the children’s headmistress as well as a shapeshifter and manipulator of time.
  • Esmerelda Avocet is also an Ymbryne from another loop but she has been kidnapped by Wights.

The story continues with the escape of the peculiar children and their headmistress. They soon discover that all the other ymbrynes have been kidnapped by the very dangerous and corrupt Wights, for a purpose that cannot be good. The children need to find another ymbryne so that their beloved Miss Peregrine can be transformed out of her bird form back to human form and will hopefully be able to find someone in war-torn London.

Overall, Hollow City is a very compelling and enjoyable read that chronicles a quest undertaken by children, all who have some peculiar traits, to find a cure for their ymbryne and guardian, Miss Peregrine. It is packed with action, chases, escapes, bombings, being captured and lots of suspense, building the characters up more as we discover and learn more about them. The story set is mainly 1940s war ravaged London but travels to various locations including some very unique and strange ones. It is told beautifully, I love the use of language by Ransom Riggs, and sets out a very imaginative world that could just be real. It has an exciting plot with superb plot twists and some truly wonderful characters.

Hollow City is an engaging coming-of-age teen love story perfectly blended with fantasy horror, time travelling historical adventure and danger around every corner and turn of the page. It is a compelling read and the use of real, strange and sometimes grotesque photos that are littered throughout the pages help tell the story.

There is violence throughout the book, including vicious killings, with a range of weapons and methods that include exploding chicken eggs, so some younger readers may find it a bit scary, although any featured violence and romance doesn’t go into any great detail and certainly isn’t very graphic.

Hollow City is an excellent sequel and continuation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, taking the reader on a journey through different times zones and locations where the children have left their secluded and secure world to enter a more dangerous setting where they make new friends, and new enemies, along the way. It introduces lots of new characters, including some peculiar talking animals and other peculiar children. A well-written novel that sets up the third instalment quite nicely. This is not a standalone novel; you really do have to have read the first book in the series to really understand what is happening within the story.

If you enjoyed reading the first book of the series, then you will really enjoy Hollow City. Whilst it is a bit weaker than its predecessor it is bridging the gap to the final book in the trilogy, one which I cannot wait to start reading.

A very enjoyable and different read with some excellent peculiar photographs.

Rating: 4.5/5

RRP: £14.99 (Hardback) / £8.99 (Paperback) / £5.19 (Kindle)

For more information, visit ransomriggs.com. Available to buy from Amazon here.

DISCLOSURE: All thoughts and opinions are my own. This review uses an affiliate link which I may receive a small commission from if you purchase through the link.

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