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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

A dark, twisty modern fairytale where three sisters discover they are not exactly all that they seem and evil things really do go bump in the night. Iris Hollow and her two older sisters are unquestionably strange. Ever since they disappeared on a suburban street in Scotland as children only to return a month a later with no memory of what happened to them, odd, eerie occurrences seem to follow in their wake. And they’re changing. First, their dark hair turned white. Then, their blue eyes slowly turned black. They have insatiable appetites yet never gain weight. People find them disturbingly intoxicating, unbearably beautiful, and inexplicably dangerous. But now, ten years later, seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow is doing all she can to fit in and graduate high school on time—something her two famously glamourous globe-trotting older sisters, Grey and Vivi, never managed to do. But when Grey goes missing without a trace, leaving behind bizarre clues as to what might have happened, I…

House of Hollow

by Krystal Sutherland

Overall Book Review:

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

Content Analysis:

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.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I am a full-time mom, full-time wife, and overtime reader. I have been an avid reader for as long as anyone can remember. It must run in the family because both my mother and grandmother are also voracious readers and often pass books back and forth. Almost any genre can spark my interest, but I often go in streaks, reading a bunch of books from one genre, then switching to another for a while and back again.