Sunday, 22 June 2014

hollow city by ransom riggs - spoiler-free!

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hi wonderful readers! today i have a review of 'hollow city' by ransom riggs for you! i would just like to say a huge thank you to the lovely folks at quirk books for sending me out a copy to review - you guys are the best!

i can't speak too much about the actual plot because this is a sequel and i wouldn't want to ruin the first book for anyone, so i'll just speak about the general premise. 'hollow city' is the sequel to 'miss peregrine's home for peculiar children' (which i wrote about here, over two years ago), which is the story of jacob, a boy who travels to an island near wales to search for the oprhanage where his grandfather grew up after he witnesses his murder. his grandfather's dying words had been a cryptic clue to find the 'peculiars' on the island - children with unusual abilities, like hands that spark flames or being able to see the future in your dreams. once jacob finds them and becomes convinced that they aren't and never were the delusions of an old man, a much darker side of the peculiars' life is revealed and he becomes entangled in the horrors of their world. 'hollow city' follows on from that story as jacob and the children seek help in new lands.

  • the tension and suspense in this book was spot on. i was so gripped right from the first page and i couldn't wait to see what happened next. the chapters in this book are quite long, often longer than 30 pages, which i usually hate in books, but i was so involved in the plot that i barely noticed it and could flow through like 100 pages just by accident. there is no shortage of action and there are very little rest points, so there were no points in the book where i was bored or it felt like i was waiting for something to happen; there was always something going on. along with this, the story was really rich and full and i never felt like anything was missing. it's very rare to see this kind of great writing and story-telling and plot continuously throughout a whole book, especially in YA, so a big thumbs up for that from me. 
  • as with the first book, the production on 'hollow city' is absolutely stunning. the pages are thick and glossy, with beautifully printed photographs and coloured pages. clearly so much effort has been made to make this just a beautiful book - it seems they considered everything, every detail is incredible; even the font seems to fit the style of the story perfectly. it must have cost so much to make but it added so much to the reading experience for me. 
  • 'hollow city' is beautifully written and was such a pleasure to read, but also, it was so funny! i wasn't expecting there to be any humour but the dialogue between characters was excellent and i think ransom riggs got it completely spot on. the use of sarcasm was also perfect, and i never felt like the jokes were forced (which can happen a lot with sarcasm in books); the conversations flowed really easily and it always felt natural. 
  • we get very familiar with the main cast of characters in the book (which are excellent in themselves anyway), but in 'hollow city' i particularly loved the side characters. we meet a lot of new people on our travels in this book, some peculiar, some not, but all of them were incredible. there were lots of really badass feisty young women as well which is always a good thing, and i think my favourite's were melina and the two sisters, sam and esme. 
  • obviously i can't go into details here, but the twist at the end was AWESOME. i wasn't as shocked as i wanted to be at the 'big reveal' but it was still incredible and i'm really excited to see where this goes in the next book. 

  • i'm not a fan of the romance aspect of this book and i find the relationship between emma and jacob a little weird. i believe jacob is at least 16 (he has a job in a store so i'm guessing 16-19) and, even though emma's been alive many years, she's still aesthetically a 12 year old girl, which just makes it odd for me. plus, in this story, the characters interacted a lot with 'normals' - what did they think of a grown adult kissing a little girl?! however, that being said, i found that in 'hollow city' the relationship was much less romantic and a lot more about caring for someone, which made it a lot more realistic and a lot less bizarre, and that approach pretty much fixed this issue for me completely.
  • occasionally i felt like the story took quite a forced turn to try to link in another photo. because of the found-photo aspect though, i feel like the reader is going to be more likely to analyse whether the story is leading the visuals or vice versa, so i was probably more conscious and critical of it than i should have been. the main offender for me was addison discussing the story of a dead dog called 'pompey' because that name was visible on a grave in a photo of a pet graveyard - that made me cringe slightly. that was the only time that it really bothered me, though. 

overall, i find it very difficult to pinpoint any fault with this book; it far surpassed the first book and fixed all the issues i had had with it (such as the romantic element), but it was missing something for me. perhaps it was hard for me to connect with the characters because of their peculiarity or because it was set mostly in the 1940's, which i have no knowledge of? or, from my personal reading experience, could it be that i read this book in 3 days and on all of those days i was tired from a long day at work, so wasn't fully engaged? at the moment i'm still unsure what it is i wanted from this book that i didn't get, but there definitely was something. because i can't really find fault with the story at all, i gave it 5 STARS on goodreads, but really i'd say it was more of a 4.9 STARS, with just a 0.1 knocked off for that little something missing.

so thank you for reading guys, i hope you enjoyed my review! please let me know if you've read 'hollow city' and what you thought of it in the comments! x

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