Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

HollowCityThis second installation in the world of peculiar children begins exactly where the first book left off (review here). Jacob and his horde of interesting friends are stuck in the middle of the open water with a very general plan and not a lot of hope.

After visiting multiple new loops and making some new friends, the group finds themselves in London, entrenched among peculiar folk and animals deciding whether or not the Ymbryne’s are worth the fight.

For me, this book started off a little slow. Not a whole lot happens in the first several chapters besides them simply wandering around and I think a lot of that narrative could have been cut without sacrificing anything for the actual story. That being said, I did love how much attention to detail and world building happened in this book. During the first novel I was stuck with many big idea questions about the social structure of this underground society and I think that this book gave me the information I needed. I was very satisfied with how this sequel pulled me in and really allowed this world to envelop me. We learn about how the committee of Ymbrynes operates politically, the function of a punishment loop, and most intriguingly what are peculiar animals.

Some people may think that the peculiar animals are pushing things a bit to far, but I loved them. I thought that the accompanying photos were excellently incorporated into the storyline and that these peculiar animals really make this world voluptuous.

Additionally, this society is darker and creepier than we were led to believe in the first book.

“Strange, I thought, how you can be living your dreams and your nightmares at the very same time.”

Dark and creepy is my style and with pictures like these dark and creepy is the only way to go. I thought the photos used in the second book were even better than the first and the cast of characters and additional descriptions of the Hollows make my skin tingle a tad. The new characters are very enjoyable and their descriptions do provide a lot to the story, especially the animal characters, but I think our cast is getting overwhelming. There are so many side characters that not all of them can be well written and the group just keeps growing rather than changing, which makes it hard to keep them all straight. Sadly, I think this book really needs a good Game of Thrones-style culling of characters to keep the growing list at bay. Riggs is giving us too much character butter with too little storyline bread…and if you don’t get the reference I made, you need to work on reading more classic fantasy.

Overall, I give this book a 4 on my Young Adult scale, which is the same that I gave the first. But there are different reasons for my score.

Storyline: 5/5
Main Characters: 4/5
Side characters: 3/5
World Development: 5/5
Pacing: 3/5
Writing Quality: 5/5

Procrastination and Giggles,
The Red Queen

P.S. There are some really wonderful quotes from this book and I suggest you check them all out on Goodreads. Here is another of my favorites.

“There was romance in the unknown, but once a place had been discovered and cataloged and mapped, it was diminished, just another dusty fact in a book, sapped of mystery. So maybe it was better to leave a few spots on the map blank. To let the world keep a little of its magic, rather than forcing it to divulge every last secret. Maybe it was better, now and then, to wonder.”