Hollow City & Library of Souls: Two Book Reviews.

A/N: Spoilers ahead! 

After reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, I didn’t think the next book could top the first. Of course, I was proved wrong. The second novel,Hollow City, was written beautifully, the story told through swift prose and photography just made the tale even stronger. It was a book that enticed me, made me fear for my favourite characters and most of all, it brought out a lot of wonderful and bittersweet feelings. With reading, I get very attached to the characters at hand, they become like figments of my own imagination and not just the writer’s. That being said means that I feel their pain and sadness but also, I share in their laughter and joys. I felt like I was a peculiar person on for the ride as well.

The second novel, Hollow City, follows Jacob and Emma, along with the other peculiar children on their journey to try and save their headmistress, Miss Peregrine. Their fates are intertwined and separated, joined and yet distant at the same time, while you may think they’ll survive and most surely will stick by each other, the winds call for change. Obstacles get in their way, there is a darkness forming and it seeps into their doubts, arguments spring up and hope is lost. They are chased by demons known as wights and hollows, forced to jump through loop after loop, in the search of help and others like them, especially another to help their fallen mistress. After a rollercoaster of torment, blood and fear, the peculiar gang seem to have found help, only for it to be snatched away again towards the end of the novel.

Library of Souls, the third and final installment had me turning pages quicker than ever. After having flown by on this adventure with extraordinary people, I wanted to see them win; I wanted to see them survive. The tale takes them to the darkest place on Earth, where they meet the foulest of creatures, they’re separated from each other, imprisoned, tortured and some, even so shell shocked, they can barely recognize help when it reaches them. In this novel, we follow a broken set of souls, tortured and lost, alone in a frightening world, with only their faith, wit and powers to guide them. They manage to reach their destination, but not without terrible trails, some horrific and some absolutely absurd.

Along the way, they entrust a few to help them with their mission, Jacob and Emma, seek help from their friend, Addison the peculiar dog, along with a few others found in a ghastly place, known as Devil’s Acre, they stumble on a friendly face, Bentham, who seems to wish them well. So much so, that he helps them defeat many wights and hollows, allowing Jacob and Emma to seek out their friends in the wight’s imprisonment. However, it appears their new founded friend is a far more morally complex and strange in nature, betraying them for the master of all this evilness, Caul.

Just when all hope appears to be lost, Jacob gains control over the hollows and they are effectively able to rid Caul of his army, but the fight dwindles due to Bentham’s betrayal, forcing them into a sacred place, known as Abaton, never to be touched, for precious souls lie and rest there. In the end, it is the powerful ymbrynes, the women who until Caul’s evil plans had ruled Peculiardom, in peace, and now, it is them that shall save it once more. For me, personally, having a set of books so clearly under a matriarchal rule was very, very satisfying for me. It was a breath of fresh air and showed how important women are, their voices are heard and their empowerment is beyond what patriarchal rule would have enslaved them to.

In the end, though bittersweet in its final moments, I thought Jacob was well and truly finished with the peculiar world. However, as those who have read the novels, know that help always turns up at the most unlikeliest of times. And luckily for Jacob, being unlucky in a very normal and mundane world had its perks. For Miss Peregrine was there once more, as she always would be, to save him – much like his birth mother should have been.


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