Book Review: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (Peregrine #2)
I’ll get to this quick. After reviewing the first book, I figured the second book would be a good try. It just so happened that I saw this at our local bookstore a month ago or something (I was reading Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes then) and I somehow couldn’t wait to read this.
In a nutshell, the book is far, far better than its predecessor. As sequels should be, Ransom definitely upped the ante in this one, making this much more action packed and much more mysterious than the last one. The book was worth every cent in my opinion.
The pacing was much faster in this one and it made you want to turn the page to the next. The pictures, though I thought negatively about them at first, really helped a lot this time. I guess it was due to the fact that I now knew what to expect and I found it better that Ransom thought of looking for pictures of something he found weird or peculiar THEN write about it in his book.
Ransom definitely outdid himself this time. Unlike the previous book, exploration was one of this book’s definite strength. The readers got to explore the vast ocean, experience a storm, get into the wilderness, meet strange animals, travel with gypsies, fight Nazis, run through a bombed city, and even explore a circus town. This book is a very good read for readers who love to read about thrillers or mysteries that involve a lot of running and climbing.
The character development in this book somehow surpassed that of its very tame and slow-paced predecessor. I’d like to think that this book is the mature version of the first one in that it went on to explore the details of each character without simply writing about them. Like, for instance, the invisible boy turned out to be one of the geniuses in the group and I didn’t figure that out in the first book. Ransom wrote so little about them yet he was able to tell how they are not only as peculiars but as humans. Ransom also delved into the fact that the children, though in child form, are actually adults in their minds. He explored this and even emphasized on their level of maturity in this one scene in a circus.
One thing I still did not like was the romance. I can’t get used to the fact that these are children barely into their teens and they’re already acting as if they’re adults. I miss the way Rick Riordan did it in his Percy Jackson series and how he knew how to be subtle without being too quiet about romance between two child characters. Well, technically only the main character is in his teens but that’s not the point. They look like kids and I still think they shouldn’t cuddle too much. That’s my opinion.
As for the story, as mentioned above, it was faster in pacing but not Dan Brown fast. The story happens in about three to four days so it was amazing just how much content was managed within the given time frame. The one killing thing about the book, though, is that near the end it could have a disappointing review from a fan. As much as people love plot twists or unexpected surprises in some books, Ransom sort of made his readers hate him for the things that transpired a few pages before finishing the book. It gave me, a now certified fan, an uneasy feeling that not even a new super power (yep, someone gets something new in the end) can fill the gaping hole that is the mystery as to what happens to the other characters. The undeniable feeling that Ransom is going George R. R. Martin on us (read: killing cool/good/wishing-they-lived-in-the-end characters) is making me feel negative about what to expect in the next (or last?) book. I have an ending in mind and it’s tragic, sweet and bitter like a hot cup of pressed coffee with a hint of sugar and cinnamon in the brew. I want a happy ending for the characters in this book as I feel like I’ve grown fond of them, even if they are trapped in the bodies of children.
Let me give this book a good 8.5/10. The previous book wasn’t all that bad but not all that worth buying either. But the sequel suddenly made the whole series worth collecting. I’d give this a perfect score if not for the closing Ransom gave in the end. I’m not sure if it’s to make sure the readers demand the book to be published or just his instincts making the sequel have a half good and half bad ending. I don’t know which is better but he better give me a nicer story in the next book.