Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
As sensational as Hollow City is, Ransom Riggs‘ latest novel most definitely is not a standalone. Take that “The second novel of …” subtitle most seriously, and make sure to first read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Then open Hollow immediately as it begins without a pause from Miss Peregrine‘s final page. To be fair, I must warn you (my impatient curiosity has been sorely taxed) that the last lines of Hollow are not nearly the end of the exhilarating story. Two years loomed between books books 1 and 2, which means the wait for #3 has just begun, oh sigh.
Might I insert here that if you choose to go aural, books 1 and 2 have different readers, although the point of view stays the same; thankfully, the vocal shift isn’t particularly jolting. Kirby Heyborne occasionally falters with British English – ‘clerk’ on the other side of the Pond is closer to ‘clark’ – but he’s plenty convincing as a lovestruck teen on the run.
Jacob, Emma, and the rest of the peculiar children have fled their small island home – destination: London. Their beloved headmistress Miss Peregrine, is exactly that … a peregrine, and unable to return to her human form. Only another ymbryne can bring her back, and London as the peculiar capital is the only place the children might find their headmistress’ salvation. With only a few days until Miss Peregrine succumbs forever to her avian incarnation, the young peculiars must move quickly.
Their quest, of course, is not without horrors. As if being hunted by monstrous soul-sucking wights and hollowgasts isn’t enough, the children have to battle Gypsies, snooty train personnel, and dropping bombs (World War II rages on). Each of their peculiar powers – Jacob’s ability to sense hollows, Emma’s fiery hands, Bronwyn’s super-strength, Millard’s invisibility, to name a few – are certainly not wasted in their challenge to survive. They also learn they’re not alone, meeting (and losing) other syndrigasti and even peculiars of the four-legged variety.
But what of Miss Peregrine …??!! What, indeed? Alas … for now, we remain stuck a time loop of waiting, waiting, and waiting. Hopefully, Riggs will save us soon.
Readers: Young Adult, Adult