Hollow City is the second installment of Ransom Riggs fantasy tale revolving around a group of peculiar children. Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children. I’ve never read a series, or reviewed the next installments beyond the first novel. I see this as a challenge. In my reviews, don’t worry about spoilers. I run a spoiler free zone.
As with most trilogies that aren’t tacked on sharing a name, but share a continuing story, one thing is normally true. The second installment is the best of the three for reasons I’ll get to shortly. I cite as a prime example something most people should be familiar with, the original Star Wars trilogy. It wouldn’t surprise me if it were a source of inspiration for the story flow in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children trilogy. At least I hope this is a trilogy. There are three novels listed, and the next one in line should finish the story arc. Three is the number of the counting and the number of the counting will be three. Anything beyond the magic number could result in diluting the overall story. That might not always be the case. After all, this is the first book series I’ve read.
We begin where the previous one, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, ended. Three years passed between releases, which could be and likely is a huge problem which I’ll write about in a separate piece. This is another library read. I have the pleasure to read all three back to back to back without interruption.
Hollow City starts with action. It’s an exciting read. The first novel I almost put down as it took a long time for the story to unfold and grab my interest. This is a reason the second installment is often the best, especially if it starts where the previous effort ended. We start with action, and all our peculiar friends are there with us. We know the main cast of characters, and the main goal. There’s no need for introductions or to build a foundation. The first novel already did that. Now we can sit back and go along on the ride.
What a ride it is too. This is a novel I might call a page turner. As the story expands, there’s a lot going on to continue the tale and the chapter’s end in a way that makes you want to see what will happen next. What’s going to happen now to try to derail the mission? How will these peculiar children evade trouble? Once trouble finds them, how will they escape its clutches?
This is solid story telling. As with the previous novel, vintage, creepy photographs frame the narrative. The story is already set, so there aren’t as many photographs as in the previous novel. They also aren’t used to the same extent. The photographs aren’t used to create the story now, but to help move it forward. In Hollow City, their main use is to introduce us to the few new characters we meet along the way.
I enjoyed Hollow City a lot more than the previous novel. This novel has excitement, action, and a thrilling ending that makes me want to start reading the third installment, Library of Souls, as soon as I put down my pen. The little love story is still present, but not as prevalent. It doesn’t feel tacked on and forced, instead it helps advance the drama and tension in the story. This is especially true near the end. While I wouldn’t give this a top score, I’ll give it the next best. I’m glad now that I made it through the first novel. If you’re struggling with it, keep going if you can, and I understand if you can’t. I do recommend you try to take a trip into the city. I think you’ll enjoy it, unless of course you’re a peculiar child.
Copyright © Drew Martin 2016