Review: Hollow City

Posted: June 21, 2016 by in Books that are Mediocre (3/5 single_star) Meta: Ransom Riggs, Fantasy, Young Adult

HOLLOW CITY starts right where MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN leaves off, our hero children on the run from the horrible hollowgasts and wights. Their main concern is for Miss Peregrine, herself, who needs help returning to her human form, but they need to find another of her kind to perform the magic. So off they travel in search of help, all the while being pursued. The exciting beginning events teach us the reality of their situation and what they must do to find help, and…


There are few books where I’ve enjoyed a hunt/run story, in particular hobbits to Isengard comes to mind, as well as the exciting HUNTED (EBR review). Unfortunately HOLLOW CITY becomes a repetitive string of events that aren’t obviously connected to each other, except that Ransom Riggs has decided to use a series of pictures as story inspiration. Where the use of unusual pictures worked to great effect in book 1, here it feels tacked on, like they were forced into the storyline.

Some of you who’ve enjoyed the series may find my views unnecessarily harsh, but I can’t help that I was bored because the entire middle half of the book is a series of events that were hard to figure out how they connected or would be realized by the end of the novel. Fortunately, Riggs picks up the pace again at the 3/4 mark, throws us a few curveballs, and we begin to understand what it was he was setting us up for. I didn’t find it necessarily mind-blowing, and the jury’s still out on whether it was worth the yawn-fest of the middle section, but the end was exciting (even with the annoying cliffhanger).

HOLLOW CITY starts right where its predecessor leaves off: with our hero children on the run from the horrible hollowgasts and wights.

Jacob is something of an anomoly even by peculiar standards, considering how unobvious his peculiarity is: he can see the invisible hollowgast creatures that hunt down peculiar people. He often questions his usefullness to the group’s endeavor since he doesn’t have a peculiarity that will aid in their quest to help Miss Peregrine. Since the books are told from his PoV, we witness the questions he asks himself about his own magic, how his magic is growing and changing, his feelings for Emma, and his ability to protect the children he’s growing fond of. We watch him as he grows into the kind of person his friends need him to be.

The rest of the characters don’t grow much beyond the first book, which is too bad because there’s so much they can do and become as they experience their trials. Why don’t they do more when attacked? Between the lot of them they are a veritable black ops team. It just felt like the middle of the book was wasted on boring plot when our heroes could have become more.

The world the peculiars live in grows more complicated as they travel to find help. We learn more about these strange people and their history, where they come from, and why their world is the way it is. There’s still much to learn about things, but I suspect the sequel still has plenty to tell us.

In all HOLLOW CITY suffers from middle-of-the-series syndrome, a mere connector from the amazing book one to what hopes will be an exciting conclusion in book three.

  • Recommended Age: 13+
  • Language: None
  • Violence: Some death, nothing bloody or gruesome, although the peril causes tension
  • Sex: Teenage hormones and kisses

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