A while ago, I posted a review about Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and later, after the movie was released, I compared the book and the movie. It took a while for me to read the second book in the series, Hollow City, but when my friend offered to lend me his copy, I took the chance and finally continued reading about these peculiar adventures.
The Hollow City Story
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.
It’s a bit slow
The issue I had with Miss Peregrine is the same I had whilst reading Hollow City. The writing style is quite poetic, but at times I had to think too much to process what actually happened. This made it a slight struggle for me to get through the first half of the book. Sometimes simplicity is the key and I think some parts could have done without the rich language.
Another thing that I struggled with was the fact that a lot of parts in the book were slow. That exciting thrill of “now something is going to happen!” did not occur that much. It took a long time for the plot to move forward. It was frustrating at times, because it just felt like the characters were running away all the time. Yet not one time, until the end, did I feel like they were in real danger. Considering they were hunted by soul-eating monsters, that’s a bit strange.
The unique thing about this series is that the story is illustrated with the use of vintage photographs. They refer back to forgotten times and forgotten people. These photos are effortlessly weaved into the tale of Jacob and his friends. It’s what makes this series unique and it undoubtedly added to its popularity.
While the Peculiar Children series also makes use of people with special powers, as many novels do, it doesn’t feel old. Perhaps because these children don’t feel like they are superheroes. Their priority is to save themselves. In most YA literature, the protagonist finds out he or she has special powers and naturally has to save the world. I assume the third book is more about saving the peculiar world, I had no issue with it here.
Another thing I liked is that the characters are well-thought out and truly enjoyable. It took me a while to remember who was who, but when I remembered, I could finally enjoy the story to the full extent. While Jacob wasn’t my favourite narrator, I thought his feelings and the struggles he went through felt real.
When things did go bad, they went bad quickly. I was shocked by the twist at the end of the book. I hadn’t seen it coming, which made it more exciting. The last hundred pages or so were the most interesting for me. I finally had to sit up right and had to keep on reading until I reached the end.
It’s not a bad book, and I did quite enjoy it. It could have had a faster pace but the ending does make up for it. If you’ve read Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, this is a must-read. Please do note that if you haven’t read the first book, it will be hard to understand the plot of Hollow City.