Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Book Review of Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

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September 3, 1940. Ten peculiar children flee an army of deadly monsters. And only one person can help them—but she’s trapped in the body of a bird. The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.

Series: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Book 2)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Quirk Books; Reprint edition (February 24, 2015)
Page Count: 416 pages

After finishing Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, I knew immediately I had to read the sequel. Thankfully, my birthday came right after I finished the book, so I got both of the sequels as presents! Because I'm such a slow reader, I just now got to this book, but wow. It's even better than the first! I love the way the story is going, and I'm so excited to read the last book: Library of Souls. I really hope the movie does this series justice!

The Plot: The plot is definitely more intense than in the first book now. Jacob and the peculiars are on the run from wicked hollows and Miss Peregrine is stuck in her bird form. The first book only scratched the surface of the enchanting world of the peculiars and in this book we see so much more and it's beautifully woven into the plot. I just can't get enough of this series. This is the best series I've read since the Hunger Games and considering the Hunger Games is one of my favorite books of all time, that's saying a lot for me. The world of the peculiars is in grave danger and our motley group is struggling to survive in this dangerous world as they travel through loops, meet other peculiars, evade hollows, all to save their ymbryne. 

The Characters: I adore the character development in this book. It is prime. You get to know each of the peculiars so much more than in the first book. The personalities become far more defined. Jacob has a great character arc in his discovery of his peculiar abilities. Emma, Enoch, Hugh, Horace, Olive, Bronwyn, and Millard develop as well. New characters come into play such as Addison the talking dog, Dierdre the emu-raffe, Bekhir the gypsy, Mrs. Wren, Alethea, and many more. I love the inclusion of the gypsies. There's such a delightful cast of characters. The only thing I wish was more prevalent was the main villain, but I think in Library of Souls we'll see more of him.

The Setting: While the first book centered around the island, this book expands to all over England and England in different time periods. It's absolutely fascinating. There's a peculiar carnival, a frozen mansion, London during the blitz. It's so fun!

Epic Things: Where do I begin? All of the peculiar's abilities are so cool. There's several sequences I loved in particular such as the bee scene with Hugh and the wights, and the carnival sequence. 

The Theme: The book deals much with doubting oneself, accepting who you are, taking risks, accepting choices, and dealing with getting old and dying. There's just so much awesomeness. 

Content Cautions: There's certainly a lot less swearing in this book to my relief. I counted eleven usages of d***, five usages of h***, two usages of a**, and two usages of ba*****. There is a good bit of violence including scary hologasts and bees stinging some men to death. There is a naked man in one part of the book, but nothing is profusely described, and there is some kissing between Emma and Jacob. 

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:

1.) The Big Cast Worked - Hollow City has a very big main cast with eight primary characters. Ransom Riggs made sure to define each of their characters as soon as possible: Jacob (the leader, brave, but human), Emma (fiery and loyal), Bronwyn (motherly with super strength), Enoch (cynical and a bit mean), Horace (cowardly but kind), Hugh (unappreciated but there in a pinch), Millard (wise and intelligent), and Olive (tender and innocent). He also made sure each had a moment to shine and to prove their usefulness to the plot. They're such a fantastic bunch!

How this can be applied to writing: A large cast is hard to work with, often you can mix up or forget characters or the character seem to blur together. But if you can manage one, it can create some amazingly fun dynamics. 

Conclusion: Hollow City is a marvelous sequel to the first book. It's a must read! Five stars!

About the Author:
Ransom Riggs grew up in Florida but now makes his home in the land of peculiar children -- Los Angeles. He was raised on a steady diet of ghost stories and British comedy, which probably explains the novels he writes. There's a nonzero chance he's in your house right now, watching you from underneath the bed. (Go ahead and check. We'll wait.) If not, you can find him on Twitter @ransomriggs.

If you liked this post, come back every other Tuesday for book reviews; Friday for tags, character interviews, and link-ups; Saturdays for writing advice and life updates; and Sundays for the Writerly Bundle which includes a new soundtrack piece, vocabulary word, and tea review!

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