Books, Coffee, Paranormal, Reviews, YA

[Book Review] Hollow City By Ransom Riggs & Port Townsend Coffee Roasting Loop d’ Loop

“Do you ever find yourself climbing into an open grave during a bombing raid,” I said, “and just wish you’d stayed in bed?”

Hollow City By Ransom RiggsTitle: Hollow City
Series: The Second Novel Of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication date: January 14th 2014
Page Count: 396 pages
Age Rating: Young Adult & Up (some language, violence, and death)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received a copy to review
Publisher’s page: Hollow City

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.”

This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

My Review

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series follows a group of peculiar children, children with special abilities, and their caretaker Miss Peregrine, a peculiar herself, as they try to stay out of the jaws of Hollows and Wights, monsters that want to literally consume them.  In Miss Peregrines’s Home for Peculiar Children, teenage Jacob follows clues left by his deceased grandfather to an island, where he discovers Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children hidden in it’s own niche in space and time (called a loop) to protect the peculiars from the creatures that want to kill them.  

The second book in the series, Hollow City starts exactly where the first book leaves off: the children crossing the water in boats with their injured headmistress, heading away from the island and the monsters pursuing them. On the mainland things don’t get any easier for them. With Hollows and Wights hot on their heels, the children determinedly find and explore other loops in search of someone to help them save their beloved Miss Peregrine, meeting new peculiars (including peculiar animals) along the way.

Hollow City has its own world building and makes it clearly known who’s who, so if you haven’t read Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children you won’t be completely lost. Still, I highly recommend reading the book before this one, as there is some important info gleaned in that one which is not repeated in the newer book (the origin of Hollows and Wights for example). Also, the endings for both books tie into each other quite a bit, so I would recommend reading the first book for that reason alone.

The characters, as in the first book, were fantastically and fascinatingly written in their peculiarity. Emma’s fire-starting, Bronwyn’s super strength, Olive’s ability to float, Millard’s invisibility, Hugh’s command of bees, and Jacob’s ability to sense and see Hollows all came in very handy throughout the adventure. This book was a touch darker than the first one as the children are literally fighting for their survival, so be prepared for them to make some harsh choices and have a few violent scenes.

From beginning to end, Hollow City mesmerized me. I simply couldn’t put it down, I had to find out what happens next (and what happens at the end is a cliffhanger (boo), so I’m still dying to find out what happens next!).  I loved that the plot kept me guessing; there was no predictability here for me and I was kept wonderfully on my toes the whole way through. Chocked full of action and adventure, not to mention those semi-creepy vintage photos for which the series is famous, the story unfolding was completely absorbing. Between the pictures and the words, I could easily picture the children running through World War II era London in the middle of an air raid, bombs raining down around them.

Detailed descriptions and delightfully peculiar characters combined with a wholly original, completely unpredictable plot made this an absolute must read for me. I cannot wait for the next one so I can be drawn into this world once more.

My favorite part of the first book in the Peculiar Children series was learning about the peculiar children themselves, but with this book my favorite part had to be learning about and exploring different time loops. From a loop with a menagerie of peculiar animals, to “vacation loops”, and even punishment loops – there’s an endless amount of adventuresome potential here in the many times and places. In honor of how all the different possibilities had my imagination running wild, I’m recommending Port Townsend Coffee Roasting Loop d’ Loop, a full and dark espresso blend with a chocolaty taste that goes very nicely with creamer.

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