Talented fantasy writer Ransom Riggs has finally produced the second volume, “Hollow City,” in his series dealing with “Miss Peregrine.”
Aiming at the young adult market, Riggs has a talent for writing unusual characters. While the plot is familiar — magical children escaping from evil oppressors, and protecting their teacher and mentor — he has a richness in his writing style that draws you in and makes you wonder who will survive the adventure.
In the original book, the hero, Jacob Portman, discovers he has special powers, and is rescued by Miss Peregrine, an ymbryne (think “good witch”), and taken to her island where he meets other special children who are called “peculiars.”
“Hollow City” takes up exactly as “Miss Peregrine” ends with the children escaping destruction as the evil-in-charge “wights” dressed as soldiers, who want to capture all the ymbryne, have attacked the island. They have trapped Miss Peregrine as a bird.
It is the children’s goal to restore her to humanity — not to fight a war against the wights and the hollowgasts, one of which is described as “a humanoid thing made from tentacles and shadow.”
As in the first book, Riggs uses period photographs to illustrate his work. At points you wonder if the plot twists come from the need to integrate the photo into the story or if the story took off from the strange photo. Some are bizarre — like a girl with a hole in her stomach through which you see pasture.
He also has a twist for the unexpected. His characters, the “peculiars,” are unusual. Hugh has an affinity for bees — including the ones in his stomach. Emily can super-heat her hands and burn. Bronwyn is super strong. There is even a touch of Lewis Carroll when the children meet talking animals.
Mix in time loops, history and “peculiars” from all times and places, and you have a heady mix to enjoy.
If you enjoyed “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” then you’ll enjoy “Hollow City,” and look forward to whatever comes next. With luck it won’t take another two years.
“Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs; Quirk Books, Philadelphia (399 pages, $17.99)