The second graphic novel of the Miss Peregrine series continues to follow the prose novels closely. The action begins immediately as the children flee from the monstrous wights and hollowgasts that raided their time loop and hurt Miss Peregrine. They exit Miss Peregrine’s loop in 1940 and escape to mainland Wales, where they find a different loop full of peculiar creatures. The creatures tell them about another ymbryne like Miss Peregrine, named Miss Wren, who might be able to help them if they can get to her in London.
The trip to London is full of dangers and setbacks, during which all the children are called upon to use their powers as a team to defend themselves, intensifying the bonds that unite them. This includes Jacob, who finds that apart from just being able to see hollowgasts, he can also sense them and predict what their next moves will be. Their journey leads to a final plot twist, a tense standoff, and a nail-biting cliffhanger that will have readers clamoring for the final book in the trilogy.
This is no slow, sleepy, exposition-heavy middle novel. The action moves at a breakneck pace despite some text-heavy pages, fully taking advantage of the perilous backdrop of 1940s Europe and blending it seamlessly with the extreme danger the children face in trying to evade or fight their enemies. The wights, though they look human in almost every respect, are even more horrifying than the monstrous-looking hollowgasts. This is because the wights’ cunning and cruelty is focused on manipulating the group of children, twisting their bonds of friendship with one another and their loyalty to Miss Peregrine to the wights’ own ends.
Readers who enjoy a bit of romance in their fantasy novels will be gratified to see the relationship between Jacob and Emma intensifying in this volume. This, in addition to an instance of very mild language, a panel where Emma flips the bird to a bossy, brash peculiar, and the intense plot I described above probably all contribute to the Teen rating assigned by the publisher.
The artwork by Cassandra Jean does a great job of integrating the creepy photos that were the inspiration for, and the centerpieces of, the prose novels. Occasionally, they’re used like individual panels, but often they’re integrated into the overall artwork of each page, which frequently escapes the panels or forgoes them altogether. This freewheeling style not only carries the brisk momentum of the story, but it also emphasizes the idea of being “peculiar” and not adhering to normal conventions or ideas about what is possible.
Jean’s use of color vs. black and white adds interest to the story. The scenes most saturated in color occur in September of 1940, the time immediately after Miss Peregrine’s original loop. Scenes that take place outside that time—either within a different loop, during a dream or a flashback, or even in the present day—are very minimalist in feel as they are almost totally rendered in black and white with small splashes of color for dramatic effect.
Readers aged 13 and older (and probably some mature 11-12-year-olds) who enjoy scary, action-packed fantasy stories will love this graphic novel series. Older readers who enjoyed Matt Gardner’s Alabaster Shadows, and possibly some Gotham Academy fans, should definitely pick this up.
Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel
Original story by Ransom Riggs
Adaptation and art by Cassandra Jean
Yen Press, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: Teen