Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland – Book Details
TITLE – House of Hollow
AUTHOR – Krystal Sutherland
YEAR PUBLISHED – 2021
PAGE COUNT – 304
MY RATING – 4 of 5
RATED ON GOODREADS – 4.11 of 5
What It Is About
“Some people go missing because they want to; some go missing because they’re taken. And then there are the others—those who go missing because they fall through a gap somewhere and can’t claw their way back.”
Iris, Grey and Vivi Hollow went through something terrifying when they were children. They disappeared for a month, got back home with no recollection of where they were, each with a half-moon scar at the base of their throats. And then they started to change.
Today the Hollow sisters don’t look anything like they should. Their dark hair went completely white. Their eyes became black. They are almost inhumanly gorgeous. And weird things are always happening to and around them.
Each of them learned to deal with what happened to them in different ways. But then the oldest of them, Grey, goes missing again, and a horned men starts chasing the remaining two. And things go from weird to completely insane.
To find their sister, Iris and Vivi have to follow a trail that takes them to the same path they took on the night when they disappeared as children. But the answers that lay there have the power to transform their weird story into a truly dark and disturbing fairytale.
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland – My Review
“It was almost like . . . a dark fairy tale about three sisters who fell through a crack in the world and met a monster who did something terrible to them.”
I see a lot of people describe this book as a dark, twisted, bizarre modern fairytale, and that’s exactly what it is. If you like whimsical, mysterious, kind of disturbing urban fantasies, stories both atmospheric and haunting, you definitely shouldn’t miss this one.
From extreme beauty to grotesque body horror, from sisterly love to ultimate betrayal of trust, from modern day streets of London to a place almost no one ever encounters… This book is all about contrasts and pushing boundaries.
Everyone knew who we were. Everyone had heard our story. Everyone had their own theory about what had happened to us.
The story follows three Hollow sisters who went through something unexplainable when they were children, and now they are changed for life.
Just the mystery of the three children suddenly disappearing under very suspicious circumstances was enough to keep me intrigued. Especially with the fact that no one, not even they, know where they were or what happened to them.
Whatever they went through, it still heavily affects them. It destroyed their family. Their parents – I felt for them so much. It was so easy to see how such an event could shatter anyone to pieces. Especially when once the children came back, they brought even more mystery with them.
If they cried too hard, people accused them of faking it. If they tried to keep it together, people accused them of being cold.
God help them if they smiled.
Now, the sisters practically cannot form meaningful relationships with anyone around, because people are either scared, suspicious or jealous of them.
Plus, there is clearly something weird and sinister going on around them. Anyone who does get too close to them becomes abnormally obsessed with the Hollow sisters. Or something really bad happens to them.
I thought of Justine Khan and how I could never unleash my sister on her, no matter how mean she became, because Justine was just a girl and my sister was something more, something crueler, the thing in the dark.
The story starts 10 or so years after the first disappearance, when one of the sisters, Grey, goes missing again. She’s left plenty of breadcrumbs for the other two to find her. But those breadcrumbs also reveal just how much Iris and Vivi didn’t know about Grey.
From the occult and the dead body in the ceiling of Grey’s secret apartment, to a man with a horned helm chasing them, and even to the flowers starting to grow out of their wounds… The things only get stranger and stranger.
So, the mystery gets a significant fantasy element, and then the fantasy turns into horror. Not necessarily a very scary horror, but with enough creepy, unsettling, unexplainable things to deserves its spot in that category.
And it did have enough gruesome, rotting dead things to keep you pleasantly discussed the whole time.
You are like the death flowers that grow rampant in your wake: lovely to look at, intoxicating even, but get too close and you will soon learn that there is something rank beneath. That’s what beauty often is, in nature. A warning. A disguise.
And through all of that, a sisterly bond. A driving force able to push you through the unspeakable and get you to the end of the world. Whether that’s a good thing or not.
I loved the sibling dynamic and its many elements explored in this book, as well as how it was twisted into the plot.
To me, this story had almost an artistic vibe to it. The whole time I was reading, I couldn’t stop thinking this book could look phenomenal as a graphic novel. The world building was so lush and descriptive, I could easily picture it all in my head.
With white-blond hair, black eyes, and a smattering of freckles across her nose year-round, she is the definition of ethereal. I have interviewed many beautiful women, but none so truly otherworldly.
However, not everything was perfect. There were definitely things that could have been done better. More meaningful. More exciting.
This is a young adult novel and it definitely reads like a YA. I don’t mean it in a bad way, but it is something to keep in mind if you usually don’t like that type of books.
What did bother me was the number of times we got close getting answers, only to be interrupted by small bursts of action. After a few times, it stopped being cool and became just annoying.
But all in all, I wouldn’t say House of Hollow was a bad book at all. I think that the worst thing I have to say about it is that for such a short book, it took me a long time to read it. I couldn’t get through more than 1 – 2 chapters at once and a couple of times I had to force myself to pick it back up.
Though, it did get way more interesting in the last third, I flew through that part.
I was glad for the ache in my bones, the sharpness in my chest. I was glad for each pluck of pain that would not let me sink too deep into my thoughts, because my thoughts were a well of horror.
Admittedly, House of Hollow is not exactly my kind of thing, as I usually prefer something a bit less whimsical. But for me, the real magic started once I finished this book, put it down and started really thinking about it.
That’s when I realized just how special and twisted and deliciously disturbing this book really was. So unlike anything I ever read before. Such a perfect October read.
I literally cannot stop thinking about it. And the more I think, the more I like it.
That is why I will be adding this book to my Best Autumnal Books post. I know it won’t be for everyone, but I also know many of you will probably enjoy it quite a bit, just like I did.