*This review will contain spoilers for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Book 1)*
After being thoroughly impressed by Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, I picked up Hollow City, the second book in the series, excited to see the story of Jacob and his Peculiar friends continue. The novel picks up right where the first story left off, with the children setting off from their demolished home to try and rescue Miss Peregrine, who is trapped in her bird form. They have only the vaguest of clues about where to head next and little chance of actually succeeding in their quest, but their love for their protector and friend drives them onward.
The little bit of information they do have leads them to London, where they hope to connect with another ymbryne (a Peculiar word for a woman who can transform into a bird and alter the flow of time) to help Miss Peregrine change back into her human form. However, their journey is plagued with difficulties since wights and hollows are on their trail and waiting to capture them at every turn for their own mysterious schemes. Jacob and his friends must race against time to evade the monsters chasing them and find Miss Peregrine the help she so desperately needs.
My feelings on this novel are not quite as positive as my feelings on the first in the series, but I did still enjoy it very much. This was the middle book in a series, and it felt like a middle book, with parts that dragged and a plot that meandered from time to time. Nearly the entire plot takes place over the course of about three days, as the children race from place to place trying to find other time loops, hunt down ymbrynes, and avoid hollows. It was a lot of running around, and it did start to feel repetitive. However, in between all the moments of running were encounters with the wonderfully odd characters that the series is known for. These moments of eccentricity were enough to carry me through the story and keep me engaged. I especially enjoyed visiting the Menagerie, a loop populated by Peculiar animals, including Addison, a talking dog who smokes a pipe, and Deirdre the emu-raffe (a creature who appears to be part donkey, part giraffe).
Another aspect of Hollow City that I enjoyed was the increased character development. More time is spent with the supporting characters in this novel as the children journey to London, and I liked getting to know the other Peculiars better. I became quite fond of Hugh, a boy who can control bees, as he had several heroic moments in the story. I also enjoyed seeing Bronwyn, a girl with incredible physical strength, show her noble and caring side.
Less interesting was the development of Jacob and Emma's relationship, which Riggs spends an unfortunate amount of pages on. I find their romance a bit off-putting because Emma dated Jacob's grandfather before he left their loop. Now she's moved onto the grandson. The fact that Jacob is falling in love with the girl that his grandfather was in love with years before doesn't seem to bother him much, but it bothers me. I'm not a fan of their romance, but it is a central part of the narrative, unfortunately.
Much like the first novel in the series, Hollow City is full of vintage photographs that illustrate the characters and events of the story. I mentioned in my review of book one that sometimes these photos seemed to be inserted a bit awkwardly, and that trend continues here. At times, it felt like Riggs was forcing some of the photos to make sense with the plot. However, the pictures were interesting to look at, and definitely added more to the story than any unnatural writing subtracted, so I did enjoy them.
Hollow City is a novel filled with adventure, danger, time travel, and suspense. I didn't find it quite as engaging as the first novel in the series, but it does a solid job of advancing the story and contains a lot of wonderfully weird moments and plot twists. I'm excited to read the final book and see how everything wraps up. Ransom Riggs has created a unique world with these stories, and I'm loving getting lost in it.
Popsugar Challenge: (a book with pictures) 23/40
Mount TBR: (previously owned) 18/60