I have read three books, so far, in 2023 and all of them have sucked. The most disappointing, however, is House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland. This book has a beautiful cover that immediately drew me in but… you can’t judge a book by its cover. This review will have spoilers.
Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.
Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.
As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.
The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.
- Rating- ⭐⭐
I’m giving this book two stars because it was readable and there was a hint of a good story there. Three little girls disappear only to return changed; that is an amazing premise for a book. I expected this to be a creepy fairytale-esque story like House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig or The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson. This book tried to be like those with plenty of body horror and graphic descriptions, but it never measured up. For the most part, the writing was bland and this was one of those books that I could easily put down.
While I didn’t enjoy the writing overall, smells (mainly smoke and rot) play a large part in this story and Sutherland did describe the scents well. I feel the same descriptions were used too often, though, and it seemed like every other page the characters would smell something nasty and throw up.
The plot also crawled along. Nothing really caught my attention until the last 25% of the story. I didn’t care about any of the characters and while the youngest, Iris, is seventeen, they all read much younger. None of them had any redeeming qualities and were just so flat.
This book could have been so much better and I’m sad that it’s not. I love the idea of changelings and being able to go between the worlds of the living and the dead. House of Hollow wasn’t awful and it did manage to surprise me but it’s simply not a good book.
My reading year is not off to a great start but I have high hopes for some future books. Have you read this one? If so, let me know what you think! Thanks for reading and have a great day!