Having survived the destruction of their home, Miss Peregrine's children from 1940 seek an ymbryne who can change their beloved headmistress back into her human form. Every day that slips away, she loses more of her human self into her peregrine self, and her power to protect the children remains crippled.
Each step of the way, the children find themselves more deeply endangered by the Hollowgast who hunt them, and the blank-eyed wights who aid the Hollows. Jacob is the only one who can see the Hollows--but his peculiarity is far more powerful than he realizes.
Since Book One ended on a cliffhanger of sorts, I was eager to read Book Two. The pace of The Hollow City is much faster than the pace of the first book, with less detailed character development and more action. Some reviewers have lamented this. I consider it a trade-off that is neither here nor there. Honestly, I enjoyed the story overall and am looking forward to reading the third book in the series. Several unexpected twists toward the end especially whet my appetite for more.
What Could Have Been Done Better
Some sequences in the story seem to have been added for the sake of putting in the neat vintage photographs (including the one used on the cover). The characters are never seen again and are not particularly important to the plot. I enjoyed the photographs, but the stories that went with them seemed a little forced.
Sex, Swearing, and Violence
There is no sex, though Jacob and Emma continue their romantic relationship with some kissing and mild cuddling.
Some characters utter the occasional D---.
One scene involves violent interrogation, and there is a host of injuries with some deaths on both sides of the conflict. I would consider the descriptions of violence somewhat graphic.
What I Especially Liked
Although the fast pace of Book Two digresses from the detailed world-building of Book One, the writing quality remains good overall. I enjoy watching Jacob transition from wimpy kid to leader, as his character matures into his new role as one of the peculiar children, and he becomes...
“Jacob, inspector of shadows, miraculous interpreter of squirmy gut feelings, seer and slayer of real and actual monsters—”
The inclusion of the book of fables was, in my opinion, very well done. What at first seems like petty children's tales are, in fact, much more than that.
I was also gratified that Hugh's peculiarity--his friendship with bees--was finally given its chance to shine. And, as dour as Enoch is, his cheery pessimism is vastly amusing.
My favorite part was toward the end, when two very important plot twists--one involving Miss Peregrine's fate and one involving Jacob's peculiarity--took me by surprise. I definitely want to read Book Three to learn how these twists develop!
In reaching toward Emma, I’d risked everything—was risking it again, every day—but in doing so I had grasped and pulled myself into a world once unimaginable to me, where I lived among people who were more alive than anyone I’d known, did things I’d never dreamed I could do, survived things I’d never dreamed I could survive. All because I’d let myself feel something for one peculiar girl.