(Image from Barnes & Noble)
(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)
"'Strange,' I thought, 'how you could be living your dreams and your nightmares at the very same time'" (144).
Jacob Portman, a 16-year-old from Florida, never thought of himself as special or peculiar in any way. That is, until he discovered a latent talent for seeing hollowgast—horrifying monsters from a different world that are visible only to peculiars with Jacob's extremely rare ability. His skill has made him indispensable to a group of children with unusual talents (invisibility, seeing the future through dreams, making fire with bare hands, etc.) who live in a time loop under the protection of their headmistress, Alma Peregrine. As an ymbryne, their guardian has special powers, including the ability to change into a bird. Trouble is, she's stuck in that form—and at the worst possible time. With their home in ruins, their leader unable to communicate in anything but squawks, and wights hot on their tail, it's up to the children to save their beloved headmistress. The question is: how? Without Miss Peregrine to instruct them, they'll have to rely on their own wits to outsmart the monsters and return their protector to human form before the problem becomes irreversible.
Rumor has it that one ymbryne—Miss Wren—remains free, safely hidden in London, circa 1940. The war-torn city holds dangers of every kind, but Jacob & Co. have to risk it in order to save Miss Peregrine. Along the way, they'll encounter friends, foes, and everything in between. In the midst of all the excitement, Jacob has to confront his growing attachment to Emma Bloom, the irrepressible firestarter who's stolen his heart. He's also worried about his parents, who are surely frantic with worry over his disappearance in the present. If Jacob survives this escapade, he'll have to make the toughest decision of all—stay with Emma in a time loop that will forever preserve their youth or return to his own time, where he can be with his family, but not the girl he loves. It's an impossible choice, one he can't bear to think about, especially when he needs to focus on saving Miss Peregrine, her charges, and the entire peculiar world.
Like Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children before it, Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, offers a compelling, action-packed story peppered with humor, romance, and suspense. Eerie vintage photographs make the tale especially memorable, even if Riggs sometimes has to stretch a little to make the pictures fit the story. Still, Hollow City remains every bit as enjoyable as its predecessor. If you like quirky, creepy adventure tales, you're going to love this series. I do.
(Readalikes: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Library of Souls, both by Ransom Riggs)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and mild sexual innuendo
To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Hollow City from the generous folks at Quirk Books. Thank you!