This is my non-spoiler review of Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. Be aware that there may be spoilers from the first book, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, sprinkled about in this review.
1. Summarized Thoughts
To be brief, I surprisingly really liked this book; after my mediocre experience with the first installment, I wasn't expecting much from this one. Now, I can hardly wait for the third (and final) book in this trilogy! The photos, as expected, were as peculiar and interesting as I knew they would be.
2. The Romance
If you've read my review of the first book, you know that I was quite repulsed by the romance and that it lessened my enjoyment of the book. Even though I'm still not the biggest fan of Jacob and Emma's relationship, it was more tolerable and, admittedly, somewhat enjoyable in this book. In the first book, I felt like it got in the way of the plot and development of the side characters, but the romance felt balanced with the character development and setting of this book.
3. Character Development
Jacob's character made a rather smooth arc in this installment, the character development subtle and nice to read-this also goes for Emma's character. As for the other children, I loved how I got to know the characters I didn't really feel like I knew in the first book (as you can tell, there will be a lot of comparing to the first book in this trilogy). Without good development of character in the first book for the other peculiar children, I wasn't able to pick a favorite character; in Hollow City, I was given wave of nicely character development that gave me more information about each character. (Enoch, by the way, is my favorite character.)
After leaving their island due to wights destroying their loop and discovering that Miss Peregrine is stuck in her bird form, the peculiar children head on their way to find Miss Wren, a fellow ymbryne who they hope hasn't been captured by wights and hollowgasts. On the way there, the peculiars bump into many obstacles, all which made me want to read more. Every character the children bumped into was engrossing, and I say the exact same for every clue I came across.
5. The Writing
The writing in the first book was pretty good, but in this book, it felt twice as good. Even without the pictures to accompany the story, I would be able to easily picture every character or object introduced. The description of the setting made it feel like I was floating in this world like Olive would without her heavy shoes, something you should always feel whenever reading a book.
6. The Only Problem
My only issue with this book was the abundance of the use of "gypsy" from page 100 to around 150. "Gypsy" is a racial slur, and the use of this word made me so irritated that I had to put the book down for an hour or two. I thought I'd bring this up because unfortunately, not very many people seemed to catch on to the use of this slur.
In conclusion, my time reading this book was well spent.
Warning: Only a minor spoiler in the romance section of this review.
1. The Photos
Our protagonist, Jacob, is shown a collection of peculiar photographs by his grandfather. A lot of them feature children who, according to Jacob's grandfather, have supernatural abilities. The other photos don't feature the children, but they contribute a bit more to the story.
I was originally a bit hesitant to pick up this book because of the creepy photos (being timid when it comes to horror visuals), but they turned out to be more interesting than creepy. Admittedly, this story wouldn't have been as enjoyable without the photos-the story alone wouldn't have made this stand out. This was a fairly entertaining read, but the plot seemed to rely a bit too much on the pictures.
2. The Romance
Honestly, I was not a fan at all of the romance between Jacob and Emma; not only was it rushed, with the "I hated you for a few pages, but now I love you" situation, but the history surrounding it left me feeling disturbed every time they were intimate with each other. My final problem with the romance is that at times it was a bit eye-roll cheesy and they were kissing every time they were together, which only made me like them together even less.
3. Character Development
There was a lack of character development in a lot of the peculiar children; excluding Jacob, Emma, Jacob's dad, and Miss Peregrine, I didn't feel like I knew a great portion of these characters. The only thing I knew about most of these peculiars was their powers and general personalities; these personalities stayed the same, rendering them as flat characters that don't have any depth whatsoever.
4. Action and Abilities
My favorite parts of this novel involved the abilities of the peculiars and the fighting scenes with the monsters (also known as hollowgasts).
5. The Writing
Though the author didn't do it a lot, he ignored the Show-Don't-Tell rule quite often. Other than that, the writing style was a 5.5/10 at best.
Rating: 2.85/5 stars
I wasn't really into it for the first 30 pages, but now, I'm very interested in seeing how this story goes!
I've had a really slow reading month, due to the fact that my edition of this trilogy is Mass Market Paperback and I hate Mass Market Paperbacks. Hopefully I get more reading done next month! But anyways, I am loving this book.
“You can destroy a factory, and they'll build another. But once you destroy a life, that's it. You never get that person back.”
In this dystopian setting, IAAN-a virus that targets prepubescents-roams around, killing a vast amount of children under the age of 10. Ruby, the protagonist of the story, wakes up on her tenth birthday feeling off, as if something had changed about her. This change provokes her parents to call the PSFs (the police force) so they can take Ruby to Thurmond, one of the many "rehabilitation camps" set up by the government.
These kids are categorized by color, depending on their power: Yellow (manipulating electricity), Green (intelligence), Blue (telekinesis, or being able to move things with your mind), Orange (controlling minds), and Red (controlling fire). Ruby hasn't told anyone what she is yet.
When she finds out which power she has, Ruby barely manages to escape. On the run, she bumps into three kids who have also escaped, who are also trying to find East River, a safe haven for kids like her. They finally arrive at there, and for a while, everything is harmonious; but with this mysterious leader of East River, they start to question if everything is what it seems. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government.
"They'd taken in a monster, thinking it was a mouse.”
The world building of this book was very well done, spacing out the information about how things work in this dystopian setting evenly so the reader isn't left confused. One of my problems is that the power explanations were slightly vague, being that we aren't told how they are controlled. We only get an explanation of Ruby's abilities.
My only other issue is that we aren't told where IAAN originates from, but I'm hoping that we get information on this mysterious virus in the next two books.
“Try to imagine where we'd be without you, darlin', and then maybe you'll see just how lucky we got.”
I love these protagonists-they have very distinct, real personalities I thoroughly enjoyed while reading the book; Alexandra Bracken really brings out these personalities by showing the reader what they're like under pressure, in danger, or when they're fighting for their lives. Brilliant characters.
A large part of this book is spent with this grand quartet, journeying to get to East River. Along the way, the plot thickens with every clue they find to find this safe haven. Then, when they arrived, the plot took a turn that I didn't expect and made me immediately pick up the second book once I was finished.
“Strong feelings, especially terror and desperation, leave an imprint on the air that echo back to whoever's unlucky enough to walk through that place again.”
Nice prose, with well-written descriptions of the setting and perfectly incorporated themes throughout the novel.
“God." He shook his head, mouth twisting into a shadow of a smile. "Did you know... you make me so happy that sometimes I actually forget to breathe? I'll be looking at you, and my chest will get so tight... and it's like, the only thought in my head is how much I want to reach over and kiss you.”
The relationship between Liam and Ruby was very believable, and, thankfully, they didn't spend the entire novel making out. My favorite thing about their relationship is that they were friends before they were ever romantically involved with each other, which made it feel real and made me go "aww" a thousand times while reading this book.
4 out of 5 cookies!
This book was really enjoyable, although I felt that I couldn't relate to Sam or Jase; they felt too perfect to me, and some of the dialogue in their more intimate scenes came off as a bit awkward. The romance was romance was nice, but it seemed like Sam and Jase were having full-out make out sessions every time they saw each other. The ending felt a little abrupt, and I was really curious on what happened to Nan.
Other than those issues, this book was really entertaining and not once did I find myself bored; not my favorite contemporary, but definitely reread-worthy. I really like the lack of teenage angst and the large amount of time spent with family. I would definitely recommend this if you're looking for a light, quick read!
3.5 out of 5 cookies!
"Remake the world."
This book was an amazing read. Although at first I was annoyed by the artistic metaphors (more on that later), I got used to it and learned to love the writing style; there were hilarious parts that I will never forget because I laughed so hard and parts where I felt a tightening in my stomach because I could really feel for these characters. After I finished this book, I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time because I loved this book so much. Overall, really good book.
The Writing Style
Personally, I actually really like this metaphorical writing style Jandy Nelson has going on, but if you're not a fan of that sort of thing, I highly suggest that you step away from this book unless you're willing to push through it. The metaphors aren't constant, but they do appear a lot.
4.75 out of 5 cookies!
This book easily has a place on my favorites of 2015 list and the year has barely even started; the Hobbit is an enchanting tale that easily sucked me into its world of classic creatures, such as dwarfs and elves, and an introduction of unfamiliar two to four feet creatures called hobbits. It was painful to put down, with a new adventure in each chapter.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien deserves all the praise that it gets. The story begins with a short and interesting history of the main character, along with descriptions of hobbits in general.
This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins. The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of the Hill for time out of mind, and most people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything expected...
They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them..
This story is a classic fantasy adventure, the type of book that brings a nostalgic feeling and a breath of fresh air into me after reading mostly young adult fiction; the plot follows a dangerous quest to hunt down a dragon that has stolen the dwarfs' hoard of gold-a mountain of treasure that not only belongs to them, but their ancestors as well.
Though there is some old English that may or may not be hard to follow, the book isn't flooded with them and is pretty easy to get used to. There are somewhat long descriptions, but each of them feel necessary and helps you dive into this world of mythical creatures.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a really good fantasy novel (especially children) because of its magical atmosphere, well-developed characters, and entertaining plot.
5 out of 5 cookies!