Hollow City is the second book in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs. I read the first novel a while after I purchased it, because I thought it would be scary, but it wasn’t. What was partly to blame for me not picking it up sooner is because I’ve done my research on it: reading book reviews, but mostly going to google to image search the photographs I’ve heard so much about (the images scared me at first). In every book review I read everyone raves about the fact that you have to read this in paperback format, not e-book. I second that. The eerie photographs are fascinating.
Hollow City follows the events that happened in the first book, right after the peculiar children have escaped the island, mostly unscathed. However, their ymbryne*, Miss Peregrine wasn’t so lucky, but they can save her if they can find a loop with an ymbryne that has not been captured by the wights yet. So they set off to London, which is apparently the peculiar capital.
The story is set around 1940 during WWII. They travel through London during the Blitz, which adds a bit of darkness to the events and novel. The children, while on their quest to save Miss Peregrine encounters countless obstacles and enters various loops, but in most cases they can’t find an ymbryne to save Miss Peregrine. Their time is running out as Miss Peregrine is in her bird form and one of the peculiar animals they came across has advised them that the ymbryne loses her humanity the longer she stays in bird form. Suddenly, their quest to save Miss Peregrine becomes urgent. And this urgency brings added suspense to the novel, which suddenly makes it a page-turner.
We learn more about the children and their relationships with each other in this novel. With the first, I was enthralled with the photography, but this time I wasn’t so much. While I did not particularly have a favourite character in this first book, this time I had several. Of course I like Jacob, as he is the main character, but I like Horace and Millard a lot more. Millard is the invisible one and always seem to be right there to help the children when they’re in a tight spot. In Hollow City, Jacob learns to control his peculiarity more, which is the ability to sense hollowgast (the evil invisible creatures that easts peculiar persons) and is able to help the children more this time around.
However, Jacob is torn between his new family of peculiars and his family at home. He knows he has a gift that could help them and becomes attached to the children, while he tries to repay Miss Peregrine on behalf of his grandfather. But he is also missing his parents and feels guilty about the pain he is putting them through by disappearing to the island. He must decide either to go back to his parents, leave behind the peculiar family and his love interest, Emma OR he stays and help them fight. So which will it be?
The ending of the novel is quite unexpected. For the entirety we are on the journey with the children to save Miss Peregrine, but at the end we are thrown a curveball. If you thought you were going to get a happy ending, you’re in for a surprise. Luckily, I have the third book, Library of Souls, and I’m actually glad I only read this now so I can dive directly into the third book, instead of waiting for the next book to see how this all ends!
To me, Hollow City wasn’t as eerie as the first installment, but it was definitely a bit darker. If you have read the first, you most definitely have to read this one. If you’re looking for a YA book that feels a little more grown up, this is a good series to pick up. In fact, I’ll recommend it to anyone if you’re looking for something a little different.
*Ymbryne – manipulator of time, controls the loops that provides a safe environment for the peculiar children. Most cases, they are the protector of the peculiar children and animals.