Recently, Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs came out. I knew it was coming out soon, but it wasn't until I was walking through Target that I saw it on the shelf. That night I came home and bought the book for my iPad. If I buy the first in the series on my iPad I want to buy the rest that way. Dang OCD librarian traits that I have with keeping books together. I did the same thing with the Divergent series.
I read the first Miss Peregrine book about a year ago; that review can be found here. I really liked that book, but that was probably obvious by my excitement with buying the second book.
I didn't love the second book as much. Hollow City was good, but it wasn't great like Miss Peregrine was. Overall, I'd give Hollow City 3.5 out of 5 stars. I liked the storyline and that it wasn't completely predictable, but I thought there were parts of the writing that I didn't love. However, I will give examples below so that I don't spoil it for anyone. All in all, this book and series is great. It has the realistic pictures which make it even more fun, and it is a great read for 7th and up boys and girls whether you are a reader or not.
Hollow City is definitely geared more to the 9th grade and up, but it is clean with no language or sex, but it does have a little action (nothing gruesome like Monstrumologist). So, a 7th grader would be fine with it.
I'd say if you have a boy or girl reluctant reader this could be a great series to read for an assignment, for fun, or for a gift.
Amazon had the follow book review from School Library Journal:
"This harrowing tale picks up right where Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Quirk, 2011) left off: having narrowly escaped wights and hollowgasts (monsters), Jacob, Emma, and their group of peculiars (young mutants, à la the X-Men, with a dash of time travel abilities) are on the move to London to find a cure for their headmistress Miss Peregrine who has been trapped in her bird form, but time is running short. Moving through time loops, they meet a menagerie of characters who help them along the way, but danger lurks at every corner, and horrors are not far behind. Even if the teens reach London alive, will it be enough to save Miss Peregrine from an ornithological fate? This book is perfectly paced, suspenseful, and scary. It is dark and dreadful but also humorous and touching. The peculiars are intriguing, each with fascinating powers, such as invisibility or premonition. They play off of one another's strengths and weaknesses, which progresses the story and further develops the characters. And of course there is the book's main attraction: the found vernacular photography, vintage pictures that Riggs has collected from flea markets and archives. The quirky and creepy snapshots perfectly illustrate the characters and settings, reinforcing the dark atmosphere of the narrative. New readers of the series will find this novel a treat and will be able to sift through summaries of previous events to place themselves in the story. Fans of the first title will find this book a treasure. The only downside: waiting for the third installment to find out what happens to Jacob and his peculiar friends.—Billy Parrott, New York Public Library."
*Spoiler Alert* Don't read below if you don't want to ruin anything.
First, some of the things I liked in the book. I did like when the gypsies and the peculiars met up and found that they have common ground b/c they are both often thought of as outcasts. When they were partying it up one night they said, "At times we all need to be distracted from the darkness or what weighs on us." (pg 137)
Second, I thought the idea of history healing itself was pretty neat. If time traveling was a possibility it said that you couldn't change something like killing Hitler as a baby to prevent WWII b/c history would heal itself and always make it right by having someone else take Hitler's place. Does that make sense? I thought was a cool thought.
Third, I did not see Sam, the girl they meet in the house during the bombing raid that ends up being the girl on the cover with the hole in her stomach, being a peculiar. It just surprised me; I love being surprised like that in books.
Fourth, I was most definitely surprised when Caul, Miss Peregrine's brother, was the bird. I didn't see that coming at all. However, I did know and felt something was amiss. I thought maybe Miss Wren or Althea were not good or going to throw a twist into everything.
I did feel that some of the vintage pictures were used just to have pictures in the book. At times it felt like he threw details into the story just so Riggs could use the picture. I would've preferred fewer pictures than have the book seem a little forced with the story at those points. These pictures are not the ones of people used in the book, those are great, but of the things like the horses dead in the path.
I didn't love the ending of the book. Sure the book is left wide open for the third book which is great, and I knew Jacob going home seemed too easy. I just figured the third book would involve the clown and folding man fighting a war, but that was silly to think Jacob wouldn't be involved.
Part of the ending that I did love all started from the time they entered the ice building. I just felt the writing didn't seem as cohesive as I would've liked. A little too random and thrown together for my liking. From the dream with Grandpa to the Hollow in the ice to how it all ended up. It was just a blur of randomness; I felt the writing from Riggs could've been much better.
I think some of these dislikes with the pictures being forced to be a part of the story to the ending is why Hollow City got a 3.5 in my book. It's still a good book and series, but I have to be critical. It's what a librarian does with books. ;)