This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.
This is such a unique series that I hardly know where to begin. The story is written around a number of vintage photographs the author has acquired from various sources. For example, we are introduced to a number of new peculiars in this novel such as the one on the cover of this book. How else could someone explain a photo of a girl with a hole in her torso that appears to be completely healthy? She is most definitely "peculiar". All of the peculiars have unusual abilities that did not meld well into society, so they have been living in "loops" where they live out one day over and over again and never age.
There are evil creatures known as hollows and wights who have been raiding the loops and taking their caregivers known as ymbryne, such as Miss. Peregrine. In order to save their peculiar world they must first rescue their ymbryne.
The majority of this novel is spent traveling through WWII bombings in 1940 and escaping the constant chase of hollows and wights. The children travel from their island off the coast of England to London and beyond in order to help Miss. Peregrine, who was injured during the raid at the end of book 1. They meet not only peculiar people, but also animals along the way who assist them with their quest. The cleverness of Ransom Riggs is remarkable as he weaves a tale with unusual abilities around photographs that would otherwise be inexplicable.
The constant chase was exhausting for the children and it felt like an end was never in sight the majority of the book. Jacob is beginning to come to the realization that he may have already accomplished what he set out to do and should return to the safety of his home in present day America, when he is thrown an unbelievable twist. (Of course there had to be a twist...we already know there are two more books in the series.) Now I can hardly wait to read the next book, Library of Souls, to see what happens next. I already picked up a copy when I was at BEA in 2016 and spent the better part of two days trying to catch up with Ransom to get it signed, which I was able to accomplish on the final day.
If you enjoy YA fantasy, I would recommend giving this series a try. On a side note...I read a physical copy of the first book and an ebook copy of the second. It is worth getting the hard copy because the pictures are larger and can be viewed in better detail. I tried increasing the font size on my kindle to see a larger copy of some of the pictures, but it only increased the font size and not the size of the photos. I will definitely read the physical copies of the remaining books in this series.