Tag Archives: Hollow City

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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Stuffing the Bibliotaphe Closet. 01.20.2014

01.20.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

This blog, The Bibliotaphe Closet, was birthed from a robust passion for the written word and its printed page. What started as a small collection of three to four books that belonged to a teenager who didn’t have the means to purchase an entire library, a lot of my reading was done through high school English class assignments, public library generosity, and a few finds from local garage sales. By my completion of university with a BA in Creative Writing and English Literature, my book collection grew to a whopping 300 books. As the years passed, the bookstores also grew larger, as did my income, and my consistent love of books. Ten bookshelves later, I’m at a personal best of 3000+ books in my collection.

I then discovered the word, bibliotaphe, which means book hoarder. I’ve moved a total of eight times and while I’ve lost no sleep over selling artifacts on hand through the accessibility of Kijiji, I have always mourned the loss of a good book. I’ve lent some to family members, friends, classmates, never to see them return. I’ve lost a few books while on trips abroad. I’ve even lost books by simply forgetting them at a local café. Which has made me quite vigilant in keeping an up-to-date database of all my “pretties” as I receive them publishers for review, purchase them on my own, or receive them as gifts from my thoughtful, bibliotaphe counterparts.

And what was inspired by the “Stacking the Shelves” blog meme, “Stuffing the Bibliotaphe Closet” was generated to feature the latest additions to my perpetually growing library.

While others may have “skeletons” in their closets, the only things in mine—are books. Well-loved books.

Here’s this week’s Stuffing the Bibliotaphe Closet edition. Not a bad start to the New Year.

Books for Review:

books for review - jan 20 2014

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A special thanks to Random House of Canada

for providing me with the following copies for review:

Wonder by Dominque Fortier

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

All the Broken Things by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer

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I just recently completed a review on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and am thrilled to have received Hollow City, its sequel, in the mail as soon as it hit the bookshelves. I trust it’s just as eerie and imaginative as the original Peregrine story and I can’t wait to turn its pages as soon as I complete my read and review of the translated novel by Dominique Fortier, Wonder, which is what I’m currently reading now. Soon after that, I will be privileged to read All the Broken Things, a tender story about a 14-year-old boy named Bo, a refugee from Vietnam, who lives in a small house in Toronto with his sister, Rose, a girl severely disfigured by the affects of Agent Orange.

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Books I Bought:

books bought Jan 20 2014

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Hellgoing by Lynn Coady, published by Astoria, an imprint of House of Anansi

11/22/63 by Stephen King, published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, published by Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group

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While I’ve read and reviewed a number of Lynn Coady’s work, such as “The Antagonist,” which was nominated for the Giller Prize in 2011, I could not help but cheer for the success of her latest work, Hellgoing, which was not only nominated for the Giller, but its Grand Prize Winner in 2013. As a short story writer, I can certainly appreciate the craftsmanship of the short story, which is the collection held within the pages of Hellgoing and something I look forward to reading as I’ve heard Coady’s ability to create true and humorous dialogue is something to wonder at and applaud.

11/22/63 is a massive mountain of a book, totalling 849 pages in trade paperback, it is not only about the assassination of JFK, but time travel, which are topics King usually steers away from when his usual works feature the darkest of our fears when roused in his works of fiction that belong to the genre of horror. Stephen King is much beloved as he is idolized, a storyteller known to engage his readers in the dark of his stories.

And while I didn’t love Shop Girl, I congratulate Steve Martin for expanding his resume to include “creative writer” when he’s already a famous actor and comedian. Why write unless you actually have a story to tell and a voice to tell it in? And this novel also includes colourful graphics of art reproductions to accompany the story of fine art collecting. This is certainly a book I will check into as soon as I complete a few of my scheduled reviews.

Books I Won:

books won jan 20

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An ARC of Some Thing Real by Heather Demetrios, published by Henry Holt

A copy of Under the Jeweled Sky by Alison McQueen, published by Source Books

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I was lucky enough to win a copy of Some Thing Real and Under the Jeweled Sky both from contests on Facebook hosted by the books’ publishers. Thanks to Henry Holy and Source Books for these additions to my collection!

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What does your Bibliotaphe Closet look like this year?

What book are you most looking forward to reading right now?

Of the books listed above, which are you most interested in reading?

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Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

01.16.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

Miss Peregrine cvr

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Category: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy

Author: Ransom Riggs

Format: Trade Paperback,  368 pages

Publisher: Quirk Books

ISBN: 978-159-4746-031

Pub Date: June 4, 2013

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Summary from Publisher:

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. 

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

– From Chapters-Indigo website.

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Book Review by Zara from The Bibliotaphe Closet:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the #1 New York Times Bestseller, by Ransom Riggs, is a hauntingly dark and foreboding novel with its early, mysterious folktales coupled with its strange and eerie black and white photographs.

The story begins with the unique connection between 16-year-old Jacob and his eccentric grandfather, Abraham Portman, whose surreal tales of strange children from a mysterious orphanage he was a patron at after World War II, incites the imagination and wonder of his mesmerized, yet questioning grandson.

The narrative is surprisingly mature and well-written for a novel targeted towards a young adult audience and its readability, effortless and fast-paced (I read the novel in a record time of only two days). But, perhaps the ease of its readability is also rooted in the story’s gripping suspense, which urges its reader to move quickly from one page to the next.

The setting moves from ordinary suburban angst to the foggy marsh and mystery of Cairnholm, a tiny island off the coast of Wales. The remains of the orphanage itself is not only an eerie setting, but becomes a character in itself, its dark, dust-filled rooms mere shadows of the past and its tumultuous tale. Then, of course, there is the danger of the marsh, a haunted sanctuary in which residents of Cairnholm fear to cross.

And the further in you read, the more is revealed about the peculiarity of Abraham’s ghost children. Are they magical? Imaginary? Fraudulent? And once this is realized in the novel, the climax unravels its horrific conflict. Fantastical beings, both grotesque and obscure come to light in a way that graphically scares its readers. At times I was afraid to turn the page in fear of actually visualizing a photograph that would depict a horror I wasn’t prepared to see.

At the same time, there is a cosmic innocence in the book, an ethereal context and tone to the setting and the story. It is, after all, a book about mystical children and the horrors that they face.

There is in the book, a creation of new friendships and new worlds, both dark and light, but both certainly occult in nature. It is a wonderfully apocalyptic fantasy that will, if not impress its readers, will certainly raise their eyebrows in curiosity, or convince them to cower under a blanket in graphic fear.

And it is a first installation in a series, which means there is more to look forward to once the book itself, ends. Certainly an effective taste to a foundational and surreal beginning.

Be sure to check out the sequel to the book, The Hollow City, which hit the bookstores on January 14, 2014.

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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 Quirk Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Author:

ransom riggs

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To learn more about Ransom, you can visit his biography here.

Links:

You can follow Ransom on Twitter.

You can like Ransom on Facebook.

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If you haven’t yet read, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” what do you think is “peculiar” about the children in the book?

What do you suspect to be the truth about the mysterious orphanage on Cairnholm Island?

Have you picked up and/or read the sequel to the book, “Hollow City?”

If you could be “peculiar,” what special gift or talent would you like to have?

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