Warning: If you have not read the first book “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” DO NOT start on “Hollow City” because this sequel dives straight from where the plot last left off so you will be lost without reading the earlier book.
For this second title, author Ransom Riggs has in my opinion outdone his debut work, which is quite a feat because the latter was a solidly written piece that was well-received in the literary world. “Hollow City” on the other hand turned out to be such a page-turner I found myself devouring the whole novel in just one sitting.
What I absolutely adore about both titles is the vintage photographs that Riggs personally collects. These black and white pictures, as Riggs wrote in a disclaimer at the end of his novels, are authentic found photographs, mostly unaltered with a few exceptions that have been digitally post-processed.
Let me tell you, these photos are possibly some of the CREEPIEST images of children I have seen. Below is a screenshot I took of one of the less odd looking photos seen inside “Hollow City”: (For more peculiar pictures, Riggs shared more in THIS Huffington Post article)
More importantly, these photos do not only serve as visual accompaniments to the story, they are part of the story itself. Riggs picks a snapshot, which essentially freezes a moment in time, but throws away its original context to retrofit it with a brand new identity that is suitable for his fictional needs. By weaving the vintage images into the fabric of the narrative, where the author would write about or make references to them in the text, it felt experimental and added a fun dimension into my reading experience into, ironically, a dark fantasy novel.
“Hollow City” borders on semi-realistic settings with supernatural elements in it, and I was bought into the story, having found it to be original and convincing because it was well planned out and explained.
The plot revolved around a group of children who called themselves the ‘peculiars’ as a result of their out-of-the-ordinary abilities, such as levitation, being able to lift heavy objects and foresee the future, amongst many others skills. Having lived at the fringe of the society for centuries, their peaceful existence had been threatened by malicious external forces with an ominous aim. “Hollow City” detailed the children’s great escape plan as they sought help from other peculiars around the country.
I have also heard that “Miss Peregrine” will be adopted by Hollywood sometime next year, and most fittingly directed by none other than the maestro of all films gothic and quirky Tim Burton. Now that is something that I am looking forward to.
Till then, I am content just watching the book trailer videos that publisher Quirk Books have produced. Absolutely spine tingling!: