Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

What?  It can’t just end like that!  Jacob, obviously, has some serious mojo.  Can’t wait to see what he does with it.  But how will the other peculiars survive?  The third book can’t come soon enough for me.

Miss-Peregrine_Riggs In the first book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, we meet Jacob Portman, an ordinary rich kid from Florida, and his addled grandfather, Abraham. As a child, Jacob had been enchanted by his grandpa’s tales of peculiar children with many and varied talents living an idyllic life on an island.  He even had pictures to prove the veracity of the stories.  However, over time, as Jacob grew older, the stories, and the images that accompanied them, began to lose their magic.  Photoshop, after all, can work miracles, and everyone knows that fairy tales just aren’t true.  No, Virginia, there isn’t a Santa Claus.  But, then, Abraham dies a horrible death, and his last words send Jacob on an extraordinary journey across an ocean, and half a century, in search of a semi-mythical safe haven, and his own peculiarity.  Or, as Jake himself said elsewhere in the novel:

And that is how someone who is unusually susceptible to nightmares,night terrors,the Creeps, the Willies and the Seeing Things That Aren’t Really There talks himself into making one last trip to the abandoned, almost-certainly-haunted house where a dozen or more children met their untimely end.

Among the oddities and strangeness of his new friends, Jacob finds an emotional home that he never found with his own parents. However, all of this is torn asunder by monsters out of his worst nightmares. Monsters who are determined to achieve ultimate power and immortality at any cost. At the end of Miss Peregrine, the children left their island haven, determined to save their beloved headmistress, taking Jacob with them.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

Hollow-City_RiggsAs book two, Hollow City, opens, we have yet to make it to the mainland, and, when we do, the hardships and adventures, have barely begun. With the help of legends, peculiar tales, and talking animals, Jacob and his friends trek across Britain, running from creepy wights and disgusting hollows, looking for someone to help Miss Peregrine. Each step is a desperate struggle against evil forces consuming everything in their path. Finally, in London, they meet Caul, one of Miss Peregrine’s corrupted brothers, and enter, and exit, many strange loops. All of this in the midst of a German air raid.

The one thing that turned me off of this book was the attitude of the peculiar children to “normals”.  They are just so dismissive and snobbish.  Cold, really, especially with that little girl and the ambulance.  It demonstrates their basic humaness, I know, but it still left me with an “off” feeling, and not quite so much on their side as I was.

At the end of this book, Jacob discovers something about himself and his evolving peculiarity that promises to be really, really cool, but we are left hanging at the edge of the proverbial cliff.  What will Jacob do with this new power?  I really wanna know.  I loved both of these books and can’t wait for the third!

Rating:  4.25 out of 5 stars

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