House of Hollow follows the Hollow sisters, particularly Iris, on a journey of self-discovery and rescue in this tale of three sisters who will stop at nothing to continue as sisters.
Some entities have labeled this book as fantasy. I would argue it is less fantasy and more horror, so dark fantasy may be a more appropriate label. While there are fantasy elements such as the ability to mind control and the concept of changelings is spread throughout, little time is spent on the fantasy elements and far more time is devoted to the mystery plot line of solving who/what is chasing these three sisters and why.
Set in London and the surrounding areas, this novel lends itself well to being relatable to any scenery. The city of London could be swapped for any town/city/village of moderate size and the story would not lose anything for it. The cast of characters is relatively limited to the three Hollow sisters, the boyfriend of the eldest, and the girls’ mother. Other characters flit in and out of the story through the recalling of events or minor substory lines.
The book has relatively straightforward prose and apart from one or two minor instances, is not overly wordy or effusive with descriptive adjectives. The action continues throughout the chapters at a breakneck speed and it does lend itself to quick reading. The climax is much closer to the end of the book, so far in fact, that I started to wonder about three-quarters of the way whether or not the story would come to a conclusion or if a cliff-hanger was instore necessitating a second installment.
Overall, this novel is a good dark read. If as a reader you are not ready for some gruesome scenes and a whole lot of mystery, I would avoid. But if a good “Who dun’ it?” is on your perks list, then this is a good choice. While the book wraps nicely, I would not be entirely surprised if we see a second installment that furthers the story of the Hollow sisters.
Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Profanity/Language: 28 religious exclamations; 15 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name; 25 scatological words; 4 anatomical terms; 36 f-word derivatives.
Violence/Gore: Numerous instances of minor injuries resulting in bloody cuts, scrapes and wounds; recall of breaking a person’s jaw; bullying-pointed out here due to severity of putting broken glass in a person’s food; two instances of being held against wall by throat; person slapped; multiple references to person’s suicide by hanging; numerous instances of bloody or rotting corpses; apartment is burned without injuries; gunshot wound to arm; report of girl who drowned in ocean; report of man dying in bathtub; multiple verbal threats; person kills multiple people with a scalpel; person is stabbed with scalpel; multiple multi-page incidences of being chased, beaten and attacked; tied to stake and attempted to burn; smack to back of head;
Sex/Nudity: Multiple instances of kissing with gender fluidity; recall of teacher forcibly kissing student against wishes; reference to breasts and sexual appeal; reference to sex between women; attempted assault without detail; man and high school girl take of shirts to bind wounds.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death, suicide, mental disorders, addictions, murder.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adults drink large amounts of alcohol throughout; smoking; reference to usage of drugs but not depictions of use.