Victorious in having retrieved Miss Peregrine from the evil wights, the Peculiars realise that their ymbryne has somehow been frozen in her bird form – potentially fatal if she can’t change back within several days. The only people that can help her are the other ymbrynes – but they’ve all been captured; all except, perhaps, Miss Wren – their only hope. But with time running out, how will they find her?
Like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City is crafted around a collection of unlikely and sometimes perplexing photos – portraits of creep children who (yes) have holes in their stomachs and scenes of otherwise curious landscapes or cityscapes. Often, these authentic vintage photos are small curiosities that enrichen the reading experience; at other times, these photos do feel like they are forcing the plot a little too much. The portraits, however, are particularly outstanding and really do give the characters that little extra life beyond the words on the page.
This second adventure in the series quite naturally deepens our understanding of the characters and their relationships. Miss Peregrine’s flock really are a marvellous lot, full of individuality and quick, from super-strong Bronywn to invisible boy Millard and suit connoisseur Horace, the group dynamic is really rather reminiscent of “classic” children’s series such as Enid Blyton. Much like in Miss Peregrine’s Home, the romance between Emma and Jacob in Hollow City is again kept suitably low-key without losing any of its meaning or emotional connection, particularly at the end.
Much like his debut novel, Ransom Riggs manages to craft an original and entertaining middle-grade/young-adult crossover read filled with a bunch of lovable (even when they’re squabbling!) characters trying to save their ymbryne from freezing in her peregrine form forever. Hollow City is a fun adventure romp that’ll please readers with its quirky characters and beautiful vintage photos.