Review: Hollow City

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Hollow CityHollow City by Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine #2
Published by Quirk Books on January 14, 2014
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars

The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London the peculiar capital of the world. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reacting experience.

I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children just a couple of weeks ago, through happenstance. The fact that Hollow City came out right after that and that I received a review copy is basically a blogger miracle. Riggs’ debut impressed me with its lush writing, eerie tone, and air of magical realism. Even so, sequels make me nervous these days. Second book syndrome plagues many a talented author, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from Hollow City. I need never have worried, however, as Hollow City basically blows Miss Peregrine’s out of the water with awesomeness.

Where Miss Peregrine’s was slow and contemplative, gorgeous and thought-provoking, for most of the novel, Hollow City starts out with a bang and continues at a pretty fast clip all the way to the incredibly intense conclusion. The stakes are raised so much higher than in the prior novel, and danger follows behind the peculiar children at all times. Though I love a well-done slow pace, as Miss Peregrine’s is, the increased danger and faster pace made everything feel so much more real and immediate. Hollow City is a much more intense read.

The children embark on a series of adventures together, all with the aim of saving Miss Peregrine, who has gotten stuck in bird form, and finding a place to hide. They hope to find a surviving ymbryne, so that they may shelter within her time loop. I especially love this plot because it reminds me of Animorphs: View Spoiler ». Whether this is an intentional reference, I can’t say, but it gives me a lot of nerdjoy.

What I like best about Hollow City is the teamwork the group exhibits. They don’t all trust each other implicitly quite; they’re a lot of tension between Enoch and Jacob especially, but they are working towards a common goal. Where I didn’t have a great sense of most of the peculiars as individuals in Miss Peregrine’s, they all get so much more characterization in Hollow City and all get a chance to shine. Each ability has use, and no one character is the savior of them all.

I especially want to comment on the girls in the group, and laud the fact that they are so incredibly powerful. Bronwyn’s the most physically strong in the group, while also being the kindest and most loving. Emma winds up being the de facto leader of the group with Miss Peregrine incapacitated. So often even fiction devoted to a badass heroine will fail to show any other strong women, but there are so many of them in Riggs’ series. I really love the way that he gives so many characters a chance to show their different kinds of strength, rather than making Jacob the big hero of the series.

The formatting of Hollow City is as lovely as that of its predecessor. Though the pictures aren’t as logical this time, given that in Miss Peregrine’s they were all photos shown to Jacob, they are still used very effectually. The pictures help sell the magical realism feel of the novel, and make the incredible fantastic elements feel very real. Plus, they’re creepy and haunting.

The one factor I’m still not in love with is the same thing that I didn’t like in the first book: the romance. I simply cannot ship Jacob with his grandfather’s ex-girlfriend. I can’t and I won’t. That’s really all I have to say about that bit of ickiness.

All of the powerful elements that made Miss Peregrine’s such a success remain. The tone and writing style are much of a piece with the previous novel, which I can say with more authority than usual having read the first book so recently. If you loved Miss Peregrine’s, be prepared to love Hollow City just as much or perhaps more.

Favorite Quote:

“Oh, thank heavens! Someone remembered the bath mat,” Enoch deadpanned. “We are saved.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

No need to worry; everything turns out perfectly.

No need to worry; everything turns out perfectly.

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8 responses to “Review: Hollow City”

  1. Amanda says:

    This review makes me excited! I think I have to reread Miss Peregrine again now.
    Amanda recently posted…Review: Lost LakeMy Profile

  2. I STILL need to read Miss Peregrine but everyone I’ve talked to about have raved on about it. I ran into Ransom at BEA too and he was so nice and I heard that Miss Peregrine is being produced into a movie which is also fun. I’m glad that Hollow City contained more characterization and a plot that put much more tension on the reader and characters. I’m really glad you enjoyed this book and fantastic review as always, Christina! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Uninvited by Sophie JordanMy Profile

  3. Kelly says:

    This really makes me want to read Miss Peregine next! I’ve got a copy on my TBR shelf; I found it for like $5 in Walmart one day. I wasn’t sure I was going to bother with it, but this series sounds like one I would really enjoy! Gorgeous and thought-provoking? My kind of read! And to hear that the sequel is even better is even more reason to read it next!

  4. I’m so relieved to see this didn’t suffer from second book syndrome. Very eager to get my hands on this but I’m considering a re-read of Peregrine first.
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Book Review – Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus QuinnMy Profile

  5. Soma Rostam says:

    Wow!
    Well this looks like a really good series
    I have to admit that I have been hearing a lot about it but never gave it much thought. I am liking it a lot now though
    BUT the part that disturbs you definitely feelings wrong to me, too
    His grandfather’s girlfriend? Come on
    GREAT review
    Your reader,
    Soma
    Soma Rostam recently posted…ARC Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth ScottMy Profile

  6. Nara says:

    I definitely agree about the romance- I mean, I’m sorry, but I feel really uncomfortable shipping that couple too haha. More disturbing though, is that cover. THE GIRL HAS A HOLE IN THE MIDDLE OF HER CHEST D:

    Wow, Hollow City is even better than Book 1? I think my main problem with Book 1 was actually the slow pace (I did enjoy the book, but did find my attention wandering sometimes because of the pace) so if Hollow City is a lot more intense, I definitely need to read this book at some point!
    Nara recently posted…ARC Review: Tape by Steven CamdenMy Profile

  7. Kayla Beck says:

    My copy hasn’t made it to me yet, *sniffs* and I have been anxiously awaiting this book for almost three years now. I am happy to see that you liked Hollow City better than Miss Peregrine and that there is more action.
    Kayla Beck recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (38): Skin Game by Jim ButcherMy Profile

  8. Krys says:

    I definitely liked the sequel than I did book one. And yes, pairing Jacob with grampa’s ex is not a great idea lol
    – Krys
    Krys recently posted…Review: Giant Days, Vol. 1 by John AllisonMy Profile

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