Remember Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children? Yes you do. That’s the YA fantasy where there is time travel, loops where people live from another time, and the teenage boy protagonist goes to Wales in search of his grandfather’s roots in an orphanage there that is now in ruins. Except when he managed to enter it and find it was 1940 there. And headed up by a lady with a bird name who turns into a bird when necessary.
Hollow City is the second in what apparently is intended as a series. I found it less clever than the first, maybe because the basic structure was already set in the first book, where the whole deal comes as a surprise to us, whereas the story just continues on in Hollow City where it left off in Peculiar Children. No paranormal surprises we weren’t expecting.
It is London, 1940, WWII is in full swing, as is the war between the Wights, which are fallen Peculiars, once gods in the land, not to mention the Hollows, Hollogasts that is, horrible creatures with tentacles and a taste for human flesh.
The book starts out with the children and Miss Peregrine, now in the form of a bird, on a boat trying wildly to escape the Wights chasing them, bent on destroying them because they were Peculiars. Frankly, it had too much of an metaphorical feel for me, that of the Nazis chasing the Jews, bent on destroying them because they were Jews. I found it disturbing, whether the similarities were intended or not, and uncomfortable. Dark fantasies of adults of any stripe hunting down children is not my idea of a fun or suitable read for young people. OK, call me a prude, or old-fashioned, or whatever. I can take it. Sticks and stones ….
There were many clever episodes and ideas throughout, nevertheless, with each Peculiar child having their own superpower, as it were. The young lady pictured on the cover was impaled on a beam of a house that was bombed, and when our intrepid group released her, she was fine, all except for that pesky hole which she assured everyone would heal over in a couple of days. Oh, gross. There was the Peculiar who had the ability to freeze everything she touched, and in a strange menagerie loop, there is a talking dog and some strange hybrid creatures. I would have found the story a lot more fun if it hadn’t been so relentless dark and an allegory for the atrocities of the antagonists in the War.
And of course, now that it will be a series, it didn’t end so much end as it dribbled off, with the expectation of more to come in Book three. Pffft. I really liked the first book. Not so much the second. I prefer my children without see-through holes in their cuerpos, reminiscent of the movie “Death Becomes Her”. And I prefer my enemies less hate-filled. Frankly, I thought Philip Pullman did it all so much better in his His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. )
OK, so that’s why there’s chocolate, vanilla and pistachio. And strawberry. Pass me a spoon, please. My chocolate sauce is melting.