Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City is the second novel in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

In the first book, ‘Miss Peregrine’s House for Peculiar Children,’ we learn about Jacob, who at age six, was in awe of his grandfather’s adventures of world travel, fighting in wars and time spent in an orphanage full of children with peculiar abilities.

By the time Jacob is fifteen, he is convinced that these stories are nothing but fantasy.

When Jacob finds his grandfather close to death and is told that his life is in danger, he travels to the orphanage on the mysterious island of Cairnholm.

Jacob learns that the orphanage was destroyed by an air raid in 1940.

Still, he makes his way there to syphon through the ruins, and encounters a mysterious girl named Emma whom he follows.

Losing her inside a cairn, he returns to the inn where he and his dad are staying, but finds that he has travelled back in time.

Chased away by hotel patrons, he is rescued by Emma and led to the orphanage still intact.

He meets the peculiar children and is welcomed by the head mistress, Miss Peregrine, an Ymbyrne, a unique peculiar with the ability to create time loops.

Each day she resets the 3rd of September 1940, allowing her and the children to relive that day, each day, forever, to remain safe from their humanoid enemies called Hollowgasts and their tyrannical masters, the Wights.

The book ends with the beloved orphanage destroyed, time no longer fixed in 1940 and Miss Peregrine permanently transformed into a bird.

Filled with a collection of eerie Polaroids, from which this story was derived, this first person narrative gives a wonderfully spooky and mysterious experience with some fantastic twists.

Sadly, the same can’t be said for the movie adaptation, which failed to capture the book’s anticipation.

Sure, it may tell a basic, yet altered version of the novel, but the changes to the ending and the children’s peculiarities have made it impossible to carry on with the sequel.

Hollow City, begins immediately where the first book ends, with Jacob and the other peculiar children embarking on a quest to return Miss Peregrine to her human form.

Upon reaching the mainland, they are immediately hunted by the enemy.

They find refuge within another loop where they learn that if Miss Peregrine is not returned to her human form within three days, she will be lost forever.

Their only hope is an Ymbryne named Miss Wren.

On a quest bound for the centre of the London Blitz, Jacob is entrusted as their guide, as he battles with his newfound peculiarity, developing feelings for Emma and thoughts of the life he left behind.

This book is just as magical as the first, but with more adventure that keeps the reader guessing.

Random Riggs has a way with words, his comprehensive descriptions enveloping you in his fantasy world; from the laugh out loud moment of peculiar chickens to the war-torn streets of London, this book is brilliant, right to the shocking end.

Those searching for the next Harry Potter, look no further. Whether you have seen the movie or not, if you haven’t yet read these books, I strongly recommend you do.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City, and Library of Souls, now available from The Ravens Parlour Book store, Tanunda.


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Todd Kuchel, The Barossa Mag contributor