Book number Two! Hollow City by Ransom Riggs follows after Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I usually try to re-read the first in a series before seeking out the sequel just to refresh the story in my mind, but I didn’t want to commit myself to purchasing either (since I didn’t LOVE the first) and both of course had long wait-lists at the library. Luckily, it was pretty easy to pick up and remember what had happened in the first book – or at least get the important bits early on.
So Jacob Portman, who traveled to Wales in the first book in order to solve a family mystery, finds himself now in a race against time. He and his peculiar friends must make it to London in order to save their beloved Miss Peregrine before it’s too late. There are many obstacles and perils along the way, and the children must rely on their peculiar strengths along with a lot of luck in order to stay alive and fulfill their quest. It’s still 1940’s Britain, and there is as much to fear from air-raids and bombs as there is from wights and hollowgast.
One of my complaints about Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Childrenwas the lack of character development overall. Hollow Citydoes a better job of bringing out Jacob and Emma and rounding them out more, but most of the other characters don’t show much growth or background. Instead they seem to solidify in their archetypes. Bronwyn is ever the strong girl, who protects the small and weak. Millard is the scholar, who provides a teaching voice and a source for background knowledge. Horace is the cowardly fortune-teller who is obsessed with his clothes. Olive is a light-headed little girl. Enoch is the sarcastic and seldom helpful boy who can re-animate the dead. Emma is the hot-tempered, assertive love interest. As an aside, Emma is too fiery for me (excuse the pun) and her alarmingly quick temper isn’t endearing but annoying (in my opinion). You meet a host of other characters, and the action sweeps the story up so quickly that there really isn’t much time for character development.
On the plus side, I think I liked Jacob more than I had previously – he is a great character and did change and grow and realize things about himself. I also appreciated that he doesn’t see the world as black or white. On the minus side, the romance plot line was pretty thin and not super believable. I definitely got the sense that Jacob’s feeling’s for Emma’s were not reciprocated evenly.
I felt that there was much better integration of the random vintage photographs into the story, and they weaved more into the plot line.
The story is fast-paced and carries along with a lot of improbable coincidences, but it’s interesting overall. If you’re looking for dimensional characters and personal growth, look elsewhere. If you want lots of running and being chased, this would be a good book for you. Overall, it was better than the first, and earns a 3.5/5 in my opinion. Still not worth purchasing, but I don’t regret the read.