Book Review: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

01.30.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

hollow city

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Category: Paranormal YA Fiction

Author: Ransom Riggs

Format: Hardcover,  400 pages

Publisher: Quirk Books

ISBN: 978-1-5947-4612-3

Pub Date: January 14, 2014

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Summary from Publisher:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011-an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.”

This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

– From Chapters-Indigo website.

Book Review by Zara from The Bibliotaphe Closet:

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, the second installment in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series, which hit the bookshelves on January 14, is a plot-driven novel filled, yet again with a number of black and white photographs to accompany its quick narrative.

Fans of the adventures of Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children will readily enjoy this necessary continuation in the series, which not only features a number of old and favourite characters from the previous book, as in Jacob Portman and his ability to sense and see hollowgast; Emma Bloom and her ability to make fire with her hands; Millard Nullings, an invisible boy; Olive Abroholos Elephanta and her ability to float lighter than air; Brownyn Bruntley with her unusual strength; Horace Somnusson’s gift of prophecy in the form of visions and dreams; Enoch O’Connor’s ability to animate the dead for brief periods of time; Hugh Apiston who can command bees; and Fiona Frauenfeld’s ability to make plants grow—but also adds some new faces, characters, and peculiarities.

Where Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children introduced the mysterious world of time loops, peculiarity itself, the role in which Jacob Portman plays in the lives of the peculiar children, and the introduction of all peculiars’ enemies in the form of wights and hallowgasts—this sequel takes the foundation of this understanding to a busy and active plot sequencing.

There is a new dilemma, which, if left unchecked could ruin not only the protected world of peculiars, but dominate the world of the naturals, allowing the perpetual rule of a species gone physically and emotionally wrong.

Ransom Riggs’ narrative continues in its richness, a mature storytelling with its tendency to thrive on surprise and the absurd. While the novel is targeted towards a YA audience, the writing is not scarce in its ability to be well written, nor its ability to replicate the voice of children.

The world of peculiarity also opens up to include more than just children themselves, but also encompasses the secret, gifted world of animals, as well as new, revealed alliances.

The conflict, too, expands to more than just the microcosm of Miss Peregrine’s caretaking and personal loop. The livelihood of all ymbrynes, female shape-shifters usually in the transient form of birds who act as headmistress to particular loops, are endangered at the cost of the enemies’ hungry and misguided ambition for world dominance and power.

While the cast of characters have grown in number, as well as in peculiar gifts, the gifts themselves also evolve in the novel.

And the plot, while active and incessant, will cleverly surprise even its most attentive readers.

For those readers who could not wait for the publication of this sequel, they will easily devour its contents in a matter of days. Because the paranormal aspect of the novel increases its interest-level, as does its quick pacing does to help readers move quickly through the book, it is a novel that can be easily read within days.

But, as the symptoms of withdrawal are met for those readers who originally enjoyed the first book and can testify to reading the sequel, readers will yet again be put to the test in their patience while awaiting for the next volume in the Peculiar Children series. (Yes, there will be another book!)

Overall, the peculiarity in the book becomes an action-packed sequence that will propel its readers to actively and tensely turn its pages until the very end, which in the writing style of Ransom Riggs, will most likely tease and trap you into a cliffhanger that will aggravate you into waiting for the next chapter in this paranormal, evolving fantasy.

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Characters: 3.5 stars

Pacing: 4 stars

Cover Design: 4.5 stars

Plot: 3.5 stars

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Zara’s Rating

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A special thanks to Random House of Canada on behalf of Quirk Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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You can read my review of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

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If you were considered a “Peculiar,” what do you think your gift would be?

Do you think you would remain a “Peculiar” or would you most likely become a “Hallowgast?”

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