The story so far (for those who haven’t read book one in this series, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children)…
When 16 year old Jacob’s grandfather dies he takes a trip to Wales (from his home in Florida) to an orphanage his grandfather stayed at during the war. He arrives to find it exactly as it was when his grandfather left it, pretty much to the day. The orphanage, ran my Miss Peregrine, is stuck in time.
She and the children she looks after repeat the same day in 1940 again and again, living in what is called a loop. Unlike the residents of the nearby village, they are completely aware of what is happening. They want it this way to keep them safe from the Hollows, invisible creatures whose one goal in life is to eat their souls.
The children are peculiar and their souls are special, as are they. They can create fire with their hands, float in the air, control bees, and carry out feats of superhuman strength. Jacob is amazed, even more so when he discovers he is peculiar too. His special trait, to see and fight Hollows. He is just what Miss Peregrine and her charges need because they are under attack.
Which is where Hollow City starts…
Continuing straight on from the first book, Jacob and the other children (including his potential love interest Emma) are on the run from Hollows and looking for help because in the attack on the orphanage Miss Peregrine has been turned into a bird and cannot turn back. They are alone and scared. As well as help they need to find safety in another loop before the children, who have already lived for a 100 years in some cases, grow old in the “real” world.
Emma and Jacob almost instantly become their natural leaders, though they feel lost and unsure what to do. Thankfully, they have a map of sorts in the form of peculiar fairy tales, and come across enough other peculiars who can help them on their way. It is a way that leads them further into danger as opposed to away from it. It can’t be helped though as it becomes clear they aren’t the only ones the Hollows attacked and their whole world and way of life is at risk.
As with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, this book is well written and has great pace. There are interesting photographs throughout which add to the descriptions of the children and those they meet on the way and make you feel that you are truly in a peculiar world.
The characters have further developed and become much more complex, as have their behaviours. To protect each other they make some hard and harsh decisions. This makes it a darker book than the first and more complicated. As this book is aimed at young adults it raises some interesting questions I think about how far an honourable person can go before they are no longer honourable.
The story feels like a natural progression from the first book and has plenty of action and twists and turns. It is a real page turner and I liked it a lot, if not more than at least as much as the first book. Highly recommended but read the first book first.