• The Good: Peculiar children, magical portals, and monsters in the shadows!
  • The Bad: Inconsistent characters and plot
  • The Literary: A book of peculiar fairy tales with hidden messages is delightful

Immediately picking up the story line of the previous novel, ten children with special powers escape from the monsters who are hunting them down. Their only hope is their headmistress Miss Peregrine, who’s trapped in bird form. Jacob Portman, the newest member of group, leads his new friends from a West Country island to London in war-torn 1940 in hopes of finding a cure for Miss Peregrine.

My favorite part of this series is the selection of vintage photos that accompany the text. The photos are bizarre, many purposefully created with photographic tricks, and they lend an authenticity to the story, which makes the reading experience that much more fun. I imagine the art of integrating found photography into a novel to be a completely new story telling challenge.

I really enjoy that the book picks up exactly where the first one left off, so the action never stops. The children leave the sanctuary of their loop—the time bubble in which the entire first installment is set—and venture into the wider world of England and the peculiar places hidden throughout. My favorite by far is war-torn London. The children try and blend in at King’s Cross with hundreds of normal children with tags on their coats who are leaving for the countryside; they escape through ruined streets as bombs fall around them; and they solemnly explore the underground shelters packed with people.

Unfortunately, much of the plot feels repetitive. The bad guys catch up to them every so often in different circumstances and places, so that the children must fight Hollows or Wights or both, but the chase scenes tend to run together in my mind. Also, Jacob tends to be a bit weak and wishy-washy, when all you want him to do is fight for what he wants and believe in his powers. In fact, most of the children are only characterized by their powers and one defining personality trait.

That all being said, similar to the first book in this series, despite the many issues, I’m really enjoying this series.

Highly recommended for fans of magical children and portal fantasies!