Sunday, April 27, 2014
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
If you like: talking dogs * tentacles * bees
Hollow City is the story of a group children trying to save themselves and the world. After the time loop was invaded, Miss Peregrine's wards search for help in order to save her life and their own. Jacob helps them to find their way to London and seek out help of other surviving peculiars. The other peculiars still doubt his new-found ability and find it difficult to trust that he, a new person to their group, will be their savior. Jacob even doubts his own abilities at times but his desire to survive and help his friends survive leads him through. Having lived in their time loop for so long, the peculiar children are unsure of how to live in a world with many present dangers. Their naïveté helps protect them mentally from the reality they face, but also puts them in more danger.
The perils of the peculiars become even greater as they travel outside of their time. Needing to stay with a time loop in order to not age beyond that which is livable keeps the sense of urgency to the story. All of the time loops have seemingly been invaded by the hollows and the wights and they never know what danger lurks within the vision of safety that they find. Each time they think that they have arrived a safe place only to find it a wasteland of desolation and murder their spirit breaks a little more. In spite of this, they manage to continue on seeking to save themselves and their teacher. Seeing each individual expand their own powers and abilities in the face danger is fascinating. The peculiars muster much more of their gifts and themselves as they try to stop the wights. The peculiars are a combination of childlike outer shells and inner ancient individuals. This makes them conflicted in many ways. They are often treated like children and have become accustomed to it to the point that sometimes they behave like them, as well. This is both an advantage and disadvantage for them. They are often underestimated by their enemies, but this goes the same for their allies.
Hollow City provides an interesting mix of a journey and time travel. In some ways the story resembles an epic quest, as the children must seek out help and unknown places and unknown lands order to try to save the world. Jumping from time to time with provides an interesting way to explore the history of this world. They go from relatively modern times to positively ancient and unimagined. Their history is our history, but a part of it we will never know. This is provides the most conflict for Jacob. He is a person of the future compared to his peculiar friends; however, he has not heard of as much of history that they are a part of. Tales and stories have always provided a unique way to portray past events. They can be aggrandized, but they can also hold kernels of truth. This is no different for peculiars. Using their unique history in order to unravel the mystery that surrounds them is fascinating way to deepen the world and also move the story along without unneeded exposition. Finding the secret locations and guides to the world of time loops in the details the children love so much is a really unique contrast to the first book, in which they knew every detail by heart because they relived it over and over again each day. Their time traveling together and the development of their abilities allows the peculiars to bond in a new way, and to accept Jacob as a true peculiar.
If you walk through a door and feel like you've entered a new world, read Hollow City.
Riggs, Ransom. Hollow City. Quirk Books, 2014. Kindle edition.