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House of Hollow

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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.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published April 6, 2021

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About the author

Krystal Sutherland

7 books2,844 followers
Krystal Sutherland is an internationally published author. Her latest novel for young adults, House of Hollow, was released by Penguin in April 2021. Sutherland's first novel, Chemical Hearts, was published in over 20 countries and was named by the American Booksellers Association as one of the best debuts of 2016. The film adaptation, produced by Amazon Studios, stars Lili Reinhart (Riverdale) and Austin Abrams (Dash & Lily); Sutherland served as an executive producer on the project. Her second novel, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares, was published to critical acclaim in 2017 and has been optioned for adaptation by Yellow Bird US. In 2018, she appeared on the annual Forbes “30 Under 30” list. Originally from Australia, she has lived on four continents and currently calls London home.

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5 stars
20,950 (35%)
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3 stars
10,981 (18%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,267 reviews
Profile Image for Yun.
513 reviews19.8k followers
March 14, 2023
"You shouldn't be afraid of the truth. It'll set you free, right?"
Calling all fans of dark fairy tales. Have I got a book for you!

When Iris Hollow was seven years old, she and her sisters disappeared for a month, only to reappear with no memories of where they've been or what had happened to them. Now 10 years later, Iris just wants to leave it all behind and move on with her life. But when her oldest sister disappears again, it's as if history is repeating itself. And to save her, Iris must revisit her childhood and figure out what really happened all those years ago.

Right from the get-go, this story drew me in. I feel like so many books advertise as atmospheric, yet hardly any of them actually deliver. But this book elicited all the reactions. The hairs on my arms stood up. My spine was tingling like crazy. And I kept breaking out in goosebumps. I haven't had this much fun with a creepy read in a long time.

I should clarify—when I'm looking for a creepy read, I'm not aiming to have the bejeezus scared out of me. Nor am I hoping to be so freaked out that I won't sleep for a week and have to check every dark corner for fear of monsters. Rather, I want that perfect balance where a story is actually chilling, but it's also so much fun that I just want more. And this book hits it right on the nose.

I've been a bit biased lately against books labeled as magical realism. I think it's because I keep getting burned by the genre. The last few books I've read have been so flat and dull, almost as if the authors themselves don't even buy into the magical world they've created. But this book fully embraces the magic, and it totally works. I felt transported and I couldn't look away.

I loved the way the story unfolded, with lots of little clues and happenings, all building up to a spectacular set of twists and turns. I definitely did not see them coming, and it was great fun to partake in the journey and be thoroughly surprised.

I somehow missed this book when it first came out, but I'm so glad I found it now. I'm not sure what I expected going in, but it sure wasn't this. With its lush darkness and evocative imagery that was both beautiful and grotesque, this story feels like a fairy tale that's all grown up.
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews112k followers
June 11, 2022
*Update a few months later: Bumping this up to 5 stars cuz I've rated other books 4 stars this year and they just do not hit the same way that this did

This book was so addicting to read that I finished it in 2 days! The descriptive writing and atmosphere were *chef's kiss*. Sutherland writes horror so well, and I loved the combination of creepiness and femininity. It’s both grotesque and aesthetically pleasing; ethereal while disturbingly strange. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.6k followers
Want to read
July 20, 2020
All I want in life is to write a book weird and haunting enough to receive such a first class cover treatment
Profile Image for Krystal Sutherland.
Author 7 books2,844 followers
March 25, 2021
I wrote this. I think it's pretty good. I apologize in advance for any nightmares/strong feelings of betrayal you experience while reading.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,195 reviews40.6k followers
March 15, 2022
At least hundred times I asked myself after finishing the last line of this brain cells destroyer, mind hacker, nail biter, extremely shocker, jaw dropper novel; What the freaking heck I just read?

This is more than creepy, dark, disturbing, eerie! Those words are not enough to describe the senses you feel when you have one of the craziest reading experience! It’s bleak, soul crushingly dark and sharply twisty, extremely complex earns your 100 decibel screams!
Let’s talk about the blood freezing, disturbing plot line to draw a clear picture!

Ten years ago: on New Year’s Day on a quiet street of Edinburgh, Hollow sisters ( three young girls Grey(11), Viv(9), Iris(7))have been disappeared in front of their parents’ watchful gaze!

Her poor parents Cate and Gabe didn’t stop to look for them and as their hopes start diminishing after month passed and no trace has been found, the girls suddenly came back at the very same street they were taken. They were naked, carried nothing with them but an antique folding hunting knife. All of them have half moon scar at the base of their throats which have been stitched with silk thread. Instead of that, there were no physical injuries or no signs of sexual assault have been found. They were just malnourished and dehydrated. There were identifiable hybrids kind of flowers found on their hairs.

There is still no clue what happened to them and so many conspiracy theories are running around including alien abduction, parental hoax, fairy changelings. The people of their town called girls “witches” because by touching people with their fingers they can manipulate them to do anything they want.

The girls didn’t talk at first, having no memory about their abduction, sleeping together, devouring every food they’re served as if they’ve been starving for months. Their hair color changed to white as their eyes’ color turn into black.

Their father Gabe slowly lose his mind, insisting those girls are not his daughter and finally he took his own life! After the heartbreaking tragedy, elder sisters Grey and Viv left the house at young ages and only little, obedient Iris left behind, living with her over protecting mother, bullied by school’s privileged, spoiled girls JJ, suffering from loneliness at age 17.

When the anniversary of their kidnapping approaches, her sister Viv who shaved her head, pierced her skin, covered in tattoos, turned herself a rock star calls to remind her of the concert she’ll perform at their town. Their eldest sister Grey who turned into a successful, billionaire designer with millions of social media followers also text them to meet at the concert.

At the same day, Iris sees a strange man follows her at her running track and school yard which gives her suspicious vibes. And at the night concert, their special sisterhood intuition warns them something bad happened to Grey who didn’t show up and turn back to their messages which was absolutely not like her.

As the two sisters start chasing the traces of Grey, they start realizing the dark world of their sister which is full of dangerous secrets and which would be connected with their disappearance.

I’m stopping her! Because from that point the story’s direction turns into very wild, scary, shocking road where only true horror fans who are open to any kind of awkwardness may enjoy!

The conclusion of the story was truly mind blowing! Without giving more clues, I’m giving my five extraordinary, mind numbing, earth shattering, oh my goodness this is freaking mad but it also freaking entertaining and unique stars!

This is one of the strangest things I’ve ever read but I honestly loved the craziness dosage and extraordinary mind of author so much!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.3k followers
April 25, 2021
what a bizarre little book. very ‘wayward children’ meets ‘the only good indians’ with a whole lot of riverdale season 3.

and my rating/review reflects that i misread the synopsis. i totally thought this was a realistic mystery/thriller story. im not a fan of magical realism and, had i known that was the backbone of this book, i probably would have given it a pass.

that being said, i cant deny that this is extremely well-written. for being such a strange, spooky story, the writing is actually quite beautiful. very lyrical, yet dark. its the perfect kind of storytelling for this sort of tale, so i did enjoy that.

but again, the plot wasnt my cup of tea. i have no doubt that it will capture the attention of many other readers, as gloomy fairy tale vibes are super popular right now. i just wish i didnt have such a personal aversion to magical realism so i could have enjoyed this more. :/

3 stars
Profile Image for Robin.
309 reviews1,423 followers
May 14, 2021
↠ 5 stars

Something lurks in the shadows unseen in this Grimm-inspired urban fairytale you won't be able to put down. Trouble has always accompanied the ethereally beautiful Hollow sisters. It’s a strangeness that can be traced all the way back to their childhood and the start of one of the most famous unsolved mysteries of the past decade. One fateful New Years’ evening, the girls disappeared right from under the watchful eyes of their parents and were not found until over a month later, huddled together on a sidewalk clutching an ornate knife. In the months that followed the sisters would undergo peculiar changes, hair becoming stark white and eyes turning to black. Iris Hollow is the last of her sisters, left behind with her mother while Grey and Vivi pursue careers. All Iris wants is to ignore the past, but when her eldest sister mysteriously disappears, she learns just how quickly it can return to haunt her footsteps. Following the unusual set of breadcrumbs left behind by her sister, Iris begins to uncover the truth of what really happened on that night all those years ago. Something demandant of a swift reckoning.

House of Hollow is straight-up one of the most unsettling books I have read in years. In just a few hundred pages, Sutherland tore me away from everything I know and love to grapple with an utterly grotesque mystery far unlike anything I have ever read before. This is an urban fairytale straight in the vein of the classic Brothers Grimm stories. Terrifying, yet achingly beautiful. Each layer of the story unfolded to reveal something much more sinister, creating an unsteady ground for everything known and unknown thus far. The imagery and atmosphere present throughout each chapter are what lift the story during its darker moments, something I found myself clinging to like a life raft upon reaching the turning point in the novel. There really is nothing I can say specifically about the revelation to the whole mystery without being spoilery, other than it was completely brilliant and I will not be recovering from it anytime soon. Sutherland interweaves sisterhood with terror, in a story that makes you ultimately question just how far you would go to protect the ones you love. Lines are blurred until the reader is no longer able to truly question the morality behind each character's actions. Nothing prepared me for how unsettling that would be, like a dense fog wafting over everything until there is nothing left but the haunting resolution to the story. Having arrived at the all-so-distant shore, I must commend the amount of foreshadowing present that just went completely over my head. It really is ingenious on the author's part, but I was much too engrossed in the story to slow down and catalog everything. Knowing there were so many breadcrumbs placed throughout though is certainly worth me rereading this at some point in the near future. This is a dark, twisted fantasy that will leave any reader regretting having not read it any sooner. Full of eerie language and middle places that will forever inhabit a place in their thoughts.

Trigger warnings: blood, gore, violence, murder, attempted murder, death, death of a loved one, self-harm, suicide, body horror, attempted sexual assault
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,051 reviews49k followers
Read
May 24, 2021
ngl i didn't fully understand this. vibes were nice and spooky but i don't think i'll remember this one a year from now.
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews48.1k followers
December 16, 2022
Here is a small list of perfect things in life:
- fairytales
- scary weird mean beautiful girls
- unsolved mysteries
- flowers and generally pretty things
- magical worlds just outside of ours
- creepy stories
- sisters

There are probably eleven perfect things in life, and I just listed seven of them. (Shoutout to 7 Eleven.) (Now I want a slushie.)

And guess the hell what.

THEY'RE ALL IN THIS BOOK.

I 100% added this book because of its cover, but then I did something unthinkably brave and even more rare: I read the synopsis. And when I did, I only got...more excited??

This is a story of three spooky sisters who had something Mysterious happen in childhood: they disappeared completely for a month, then came back with pure white hair, black eyes, sharp teeth, and ravenous appetites, and no memory of where they had been.

DOESN'T THAT SOUND AMAZING.

Also, their names are Grey, Vivi, and Iris. I mean...come on.

A decade or so later, each sister is leading a very different (but always superlative) life, when the eldest goes missing. Cue a bunch of ethereal gore, model-on-model violence, and bug descriptions that will burn themselves into your head.

This is my favorite thing for YA to be: completely ridiculous, high on itself, and one of a kind.

Yes, that has its drawbacks: The plot dragged at times (under the weight of some truly try-hard writing), and our protagonist is less compelling than her sisters (this is the curse of most young adult fiction), and it has that extremely goofy thing of when YA authors try to make their characters rich and/or famous (in this case both) but they have literally no idea how and it ends up completely past the point of parody...

But when I let myself ignore all of that, this was fun. Much the dark spooky fairytale situation I wanted.

Undecided on whether to round up or down but 3.5 for sure!

Bottom line: dreams do come true.

-----------------
pre-review

accidentally read 100 pages of this in a sitting. either it's that good or it's a cursed object

update: probably a cursed object.

review to come / 3.5 stars

-----------------
tbr review

i know i've said many times that i judge books by their covers.

this is the truest that has ever been.
May 29, 2023

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HOUSE OF HOLLOW is one of the best horror stories I've ever read. I don't even normally like horror because I am a soft and jellied wimp, but I do like fairytales, and this is like the darkest of the lot: a story of three girls who went missing at the stroke of midnight while their parents fretted and worried, only for them to return, not quite the same, with matching scars on their throats and discolored hair and eyes. Ten years later, Vivi, Grey, and Iris Hollow are beautiful and exceptional girls, but beneath all of the gloss is the dark shadow of their shared pasts and the truth of why they really went missing.



Part of what made this such a win for me is the beautiful prose. It's like biting into a truffle, only to find it filled with rot. The exquisite writing masks the horrors until it's too late to run and by that point, you're so invested, you probably won't even want to. And don't be fooled by the dreamy teen narrator and the flowers on the cover: this book has triggers of all kinds, with many scenes of body horror, and some pretty emotionally devastating blows. There's one scene towards the end that really wrecked me and nearly made me cry.



I would recommend this to people who like really dark stories that explore deep topics and horror that goes beyond splatterpunk and gore. The whole time I was reading this book, I kept picturing it as a movie, with the same visuals as movies like Velvet Buzzsaw, Paradise Hills, and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I think if you enjoy those things, you'll probably like this book, too.



4.5 to 5 stars
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,292 reviews2,290 followers
November 8, 2022
Gothic and mysterious.

"Like I could open any drawer or door or cupboard and there find my sister's bare-naked soul, neatly folded."

This one is so young adult dramatic and easy to read. A story about three most "perfect beautiful" teenage sisters who everyone else believed to be witches (you know what's it like with gossips). Something bad happened to them when they were kids and their dad. A mysterious man like being seems to follow them and it is well related to what happened to them. And we have to read the book to know the purpose for this. The eldest sister Grey goes missing. Well, that's basically it about the plot.

Turned out more fun and dark than I had anticipated. The writing is so fast-paced that I was trying my best to breathe normal while reading it.

Ever since the very first page, this book started out so good.

The witchy vibes just engulfs you from the cover itself. And it just doesn't know how to dial down.

There are lots of bullying going on at school, at home too I would say the way the mother and the older sisters are behaving towards Iris.

Well, the story is engaging even when none of the characters didn't turn out to be that outstanding as the writing described but everything blended well together.

And I really appreciate the fact that the writing and the characters nowhere made me feel the Twilight saga vibes.

Well, the characters do lots of silly things but in this world the adults seem to have limited words or actions.

Then again, things are made to sound so serious and scary one moment and the next moment we are talking about the beautiful things the most beautiful eldest sister used to wear.
And yes, we all know how "beautiful" and "perfect" these sisters are. It was repetitive throughout the entire story.

I wished the writing maintained the pace well and not jumbled up some parts.

I wish some parts in between the pages were removed because I genuinely felt that those were intentionally put to make the book longer. The mystery suspense isn't that harrowing or groundbreaking. It's the suspense in the writing that kept me engrossed throughout. The gothic details just fitted well.

And I was still pissed towards the end of the book that the bullies are still bullying.

But then I had a good time reading this book nevertheless. The gory details and the shady characters played their role well.

*The plot deals with PTSD, identity, some possible syndrome called Marie Antoinette syndrome as an option, alcoholism, self-harm.

*And now I have some journalling goals. Grey, you did well.
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews168k followers
February 28, 2023
this was FANTASTIC. i loved the dark fairytale vibes it brought to the table and the author nailed it in terms of building up the imagery. it's a book i immediately wanted to turn around and read again.
Profile Image for toointofiction.
192 reviews151 followers
April 4, 2023
“My sisters. My blood. My skin. What a gruesome bond we shared.”

⚠️Trigger Warning: Kidnapping, nudity, suicide, mentions of drug and alcohol abuse, descriptions of murder⚠️

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (more like 4,75)

No major spoilers ahead


I can't believe I haven't read this masterpiece sooner. It must've been on my TBR pile for 2-3 months at least. I also can't believe how lucky I am to have read two AMAZING books right at the start of the year. I honestly feel so blessed. 😇😇


I have to start with the AMAZING book cover. I don't know who drew this but kudos, you've done a fantastic job. I would stop reading just to stare at the cover...and sniff the pages 😝😝 It deserves an extra star for that alone. And then the book should get another extra star for that AWESOME introduction. WHAT WAS THAT!?!?! It absolutely blew my mind. So many things happened in three little pages...OMG! Best use of the shock factor I've ever seen 🤯🤯🤯🤯


I said it before and I'll say it again...MY MIND WAS BLOWN!!!! This book is dark, twisted, short enough for a quick read, and inntricate. The mystery was so. well. written!!! I loved everything about it. I was completely and utterly AMAZED. Even though I sort of guessed the truth behind the Hollow sisters' mystery pretty quickly, I don't know if it's because I'm smart or because it was predictable. It still had me completely mesmerised, much like the Hollow sisters' power. I just kept reading and reading, and I couldn't stop until my eyes hurt. I completely ignored all the other important responsibilities I had to actually focus on. Like my exams 😅😅 Especially since I'm a crazed true crime geek and this book is filled with this exact kind of mystery. I also loved the lore regarding the Halfway, the limbo between life and death, and everything weird that happens there, as well as the concept behind the Hollow Sisters' powers and what truly happened to them when they disappeared. I was not entirely satisfied with the ending, though. Don't get me wrong, there were A LOT of things I really liked and thought were perfect for the ending, but there were a few things I found a little...meh. They did not make me like the book any less, though, it was still AWESOME.


I liked all the characters. They were also very well written. The bond between the three sisters, no matter how gruesome, was so beautiful and envious. They love each other no matter what and are willing to do anything, no matter how terrible to keep one another safe. There was some pretty major character development, especially for Iris and Vivi. Also Cate, their mother, always knew the truth somehow and still love the girls deeply...well just Iris and Vivi, actually, not that I can really blame her for it. Tyler Yang was my favorite, though. I just love a character that mostly complains but is incredibly helpful when it matters 😍😍


I HIGHLY recommend this.
May 1, 2023
I'm rating this book 5 stars because it's a beautifully written tale surrounding what we let our minds believe and the dangers of beautiful things.... but House of Hollow will haunt me just as the author intended.

Find all the best YA & New Adult Fantasy Reads here!

THOUGHTS:
- This is one of those books I can't summarize because my mind is whirling after finishing. It's nothing like I thought it would be - but in the best way? I don't think the horror genre is for me, though, and probably won't read anything like this for a long time!

- The way the story developed in all of its grotesque glory is beautiful but also super creepy and unsettling.

- When reading fantasy/horror that's not fantasy-romance, I must remind myself to look for deeper meanings. Sutherland's story has some majorly good points and I think that's more the point of this atmospheric style of writing than the actual story line.

QUOTES I LIKED:
"That's what beauty often is, in nature. A warning. A disguise."

"Can I leave you behind if you die or do you expect me to be heroic and drag your corpse home?" - A bit of comedic relief was good in this one.

NOTES:
- CWs: This book is creepy and sort of disgusting, mentions of suicid3, bullying etc.
- I would consider this book appropriate for New Adult age range (16+) and up. It may have a pretty cover, but it's a dark read.
- Fast read (less than 300 pages)
- Somewhat of a psychological suspense novel too
Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
616 reviews496 followers
November 17, 2021
As soon as I saw the cover for House of Hollows I knew I had to read it.
The design reminds me of Horrid and Wilder Girls, books I both enjoyed so much, and I have a theory that covers like this keep weird and brilliant stories between the pages.
This book proves my theory right!

The story is narrated by Iris, the youngest of the three sisters who disappeared one night and came back one month later not knowing where they've been, and clueless about the truth about what happened to them.

The story is written in first person, easy to follow and fast paced from the very beginning.
In fact, it was so fast paced at times that I was lost for moments (that often happens to me in fighting scenes).

Once again, my favourite part of the story was the atmosphere.
I noticed that that aspect in storytelling became of huge importance for me, so I loved this book for it.

I can't say much about the world or things that happened, because I don't know where is the line between reviewing and spoiling in this particular case, but I will say that my bets are the author found some inspiration in the movie Insidious.

The characters were all presented very well, and I love how the author played the game of good guy/bad guy masquerade.
I would tell you who's side I was on, but then I would spoil you, so I'll keep my mouth shout (or my fingers reserved, I should say).

The epilogue was the only part I didn't like, as I find it unnecessary.

I should also mention I shared this reading experience with my friend Amanda, who I'm buddy reading so often lately, we should call ourselves bookish sisters.
She is not the one to pick fantasy, paranormal or ya on her own, but she really enjoyed this book too, so that says something, right?

In conclusion, I am sooooooo glad I've read this novel. It was perfect Halloween/October choice and I recommend it to everyone who is searching something spooky.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.2k followers
February 24, 2022
3.5 stars. My thoughts on this one are a little weird. I didn't love it like I was hoping to, but I also somehow ended up liking it more than I expected to???? Lol the writing style of this one was a little odd so it took me a bit to get into the story, but once I did I ended up finishing the book in one sitting because I was just so captivated by the eerie whimsy of it all. With that being said, I think I didn't like this as much as I was hoping to because I found that once the big reveal happened it ended up being a little... lackluster? Idk how to describe it better than that lol but overall this was captivating and fun, but not exactly the new favorite I was hoping it would be.

CW: death of a loved one, suicide, sexual assault, body horror
Profile Image for Jennifer.
Author 5 books243 followers
June 23, 2021
"I am the thing in the dark.”

Wow. This book definitely brings the creepy, unsettling vibes, and after a long night with some very weird dreams, I'd say I'm still recovering.

House of Hollow is a dark, atmospheric mystery/horror novel about three sisters who disappear when they are young, return a month later without any explanation, and are never the same. This story is plot driven, so I never felt fully connected to the characters, but I think that's intentional. These sisters are as much a mystery to themselves as they are to the world, so in a way, we as the readers are just along for the unnerving journey.

Here are some of my favorite aspects of House of Hollow:

Sexual/Female Empowerment: The Hollow sisters are gorgeous and have the power to make anyone fall under their spell (literally.) While each sister handles this ability differently, each knows that the world can be a dangerous place for a female. Walking alone at night. Dressing provocatively. Just simply being a woman does not mean we should become prey. And Sutherland drives this point home through Grey, the oldest Hollow sister. Grey makes sure anyone who poses a threat to her or her sisters pays the price. (Think Jennifer's Body)

Dark Fairytale Vibe: Folklore. Brothers Grimm. R.L. Stine. Charmed. This book reminded me of a variety of things mixed together perfectly to bring us this tale.

The Twists and Turns: Okay, so I may have figured out one twist before it was revealed, but the rest of this book definitely shocked me. Some answers left me applauding Sutherland. Others left me a bit nauseous. But the book as a whole is one I won't forget anytime soon.

4.5/5

description

Thank you Penguin Teen for the advanced review copy
Profile Image for Melissa.
Author 10 books4,283 followers
December 4, 2020
I read it, I loved it, I blurbed it: Stepping nimbly among the liminal spaces and eerie real-world haunts of our heroine’s missing sister, this haunting modern fairy tale will wrap you up like a glittering fog, before it goes for your throat.

Seriously though this book is my exact poison. <3

Profile Image for aly ☆彡 (sick).
346 reviews1,034 followers
November 28, 2022
I have mixed feelings for this book and no, not because it was bad. The book was actually good but magical realism is just never the genre for me.

The book starts strongly, I really love the ominous atmosphere, the full-blown terror, the dark past, the eerie feelings, literally everything this book has to offer.

"We might be peculiar, but we're not new"


Seventeen years old Iris Hollow and her sisters have always been strange, well at least have always been after the kidnapped incidents that none of them seems to remember. However, when Iris' sister, Grey Hollow started to go missing under suspicious circumstances, it can't be helped that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.

The most interesting thing about this book is definitely the hows of the missing Hollow sister and the truth afterwards .
It literally blows my mind (in a good and bad way).

"If they're dead, do we killed ourselves?"
"Yes"


I already have my first suspicion, seeing how the Hollow parents only allowed the children to call them by their first name after the return. I was wondering why Cate doesn't let them called her "mom" anymore but then they almost killed themselves when they thought of the possibilities of their dead children. They lived with the guilt for the reason of their missing children and maybe by calling "mother" and "father" reminded them of the burden that they once failed...

And for whatever truth comes afterwards, even anticipated, still left me so taken aback because deep down, I wished the truth won't be as dark. But this part is the sole reason why this book is such a page-turner. The constant wondering and question if Grey is still alive, of what actually happened to the sisters, of who the dude with the bull's skull over his head, and for the truth. It was all intriguing until it took a very dark and horrible turn that left you with an unsettling impression. I applaud Sutherland for that, but again magical realism is not my cup of tea and my idealist self did not take the truth as openly as I thought I would.

The second thing I love about this book would definitely be the: Hollow sisters themselves.
"I didn't follow my sister. I was my sister. I breathed when she breathed."


I love the ties that bond the three sisters and how they could not co-exist with one another. They would do anything for one another no matter how morally questionable it is. This book puts sisterhood as one of its main focus as well as self-discovery and recovery from one's grief. And I love how this book traverses their curse to something pleasing instead of their weakness, especially when you look at Grey, who is the most apparent with her compelling and uncanny personality. This also brings me to point out how well written the characters are seeing how distinct the three sisters with one another.

I also enjoyed the symbolism and association with death that this book has going on, which give you more of the creepy feeling. One like the minotaur/the man with the bull skull which was a symbol of power and a tool for death and torture, seeing how legitimate it is to the truth in this book.

Not to say the significance of the carrion flower which also known as corpse flowers that emit an odour that smells like rotting flesh. And I swear, at one point I felt like I can smell what the characters were smelling for how graphic and lifelike the descriptions were. To see how these flowers keep growing on dead bodies got me so uncomfortable. Like it's cool but very uncomfortable.

So, if I were to put aside my non-favouritism for magical realism, this book can be a solid four for me. Even so, there was a moment where things get so repetitive and I started to get bored. Over and over, the book keeps on unfolding the kidnap story that I can remember the whole plot by the time the character decided to tell again. One moment, I feel like I really want to know the truth, and the next time, I hoped this book could have just ended sooner.



Hence, objectively speaking, this book only works three stars for me. But take it with grain or salts, if you love Neil Gaiman works or others of similar works, this book might be the one for you.
Profile Image for Avery (Taylor's version).
203 reviews276 followers
March 1, 2023
“I am the thing in the dark.”

What a perfect time to read a spooky book. I was going to wait till it was closer to Halloween to read this, but I couldn't help myself and I'm glad I read this when I did!

Let's just preface by saying: I'm a complete and utter scaredy-cat. I can't handle anything remotely scary, because my imagination is far too large and wild, so I could barely read this at night because every little noise scared me, and I was convinced someone was going to break into my house.

The Plot

Gasp: Twitter GIFs Aren't Actually GIFs | TechCrunch

This book was freaky right off the bat. In the prologue thing I didn't think anything weird would happen but the girl literally said she wanted to wear her sister's skin as a coat. It gets much worse than that as the story progresses, but still.

I kind of had guessed what was going on during this book, but there were many other things that I didn't predict. The only thing I did kinda predict was:

Also, the descriptions in this book were horrifying. The gore was fairly tame throughout the book except for the occasional descriptions that made me want to puke, but then we get to the END which was on a WHOLE other level.

I have a VERY vivid imagination when I read, so I could picture EVERYTHING. Let's just say, this book was very disgusting with some descriptions sometimes. Might just be me and my inability to read/watch anything scary but still.

And why'd the book have to end like that? It was practically a cliffhanger, and it made me mad.

“That’s a pretty heavy burden to bear, being everything for someone.”

The Characters

meh gif :: WRALSportsFan.com

I generally liked the characters, despite the fact that they all were so different. Though honestly, Iris's sisters were more interesting than she was.

Grey was a mystery right off the bat. I felt something off about her from the moment she was described, but I didn't know she would go to THIS EXTENT of what she has done. Let's just say: she sure is an interesting character who I would CERTAINLY not want to meet.

Iris was fine. I wasn't that interested in her character, and she does some things that I didn't like. But I admire her love-scratch that OBSESSION-with her sisters. In the beginning, I thought she was just strangely obsessed with Grey, which I thought was just their family connection, and that they were all just really close. It's that, but so much more.

Vivi's character was actually interesting. She was much different from the other characters in the way she rebelled, and I really enjoyed her character. She seemed sensible, NOT AS OBSESSED WITH GREY, but still held an eternal love for her sisters.

In the beginning I really didn't like Tyler. He was so annoying and rude to Vivi and Iris when their sister was literally MISSING. I also didn't like when he immediately thought that Grey had cheated on him when she disappeared- NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT CHEATING. But I grew to like him in the end. I understood his character more, and I began to feel bad for all that he went through as a child. I also like his love for Grey as well.

“My sisters. My blood. My skin. What a gruesome bond we shared.”

So overall, this was a good book to read for spooky season. Definitely had me a little disgusted with the gore and descriptions, but it was worth it, seeing how twisty and turny this was, and I really wanted to figure out what the heck was going on in this.

4 stars

“Grey was lightning, Vivi was thunder and I was the sea in the tempest.”

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sometimes an active imagination is a curse- some of these scenes I did NOT want to picture in my head that vividly

rtc

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Edit: I just bought this book for spooky season! So hopefully I'll be able be freaked out over this, the main reason I got this was FOR spooky season

This cover alone has convinced me 💳💥💳💥💳💥
Profile Image for Alex.andthebooks.
287 reviews1,795 followers
December 13, 2022
DAMN. THIS.

Idealna mieszkanka niepokoju, tajemnicy i elementów fantasy. I am in love.
Profile Image for Dasani.
6 reviews
May 14, 2021
2/5

Book Contains: Alcoholism, Suicide, Murder, Sexual Assault, Drug Use, Body Horror, Gore

"We were sisters..We loved each other with potent, reverent fury. Animal fury. Monstrous fury..What a gruesome bond we shared"

House of Hollow is a horrific tale that follows two sisters (Iris & Vivi) who follow a path of supernatural breadcrumbs, in hopes of being reunited with their missing eldest sister (Grey), who'd left a cryptic message calling for their help. Along the way they discover not only the clandestine habits of Grey, but also the eerie truths of the world that swallowed them and spat them out ten years prior.

Conceptually this book was/is very intriguing. However, the beginning portion of this book immediately obliterated the allure. The world/setting building was based predominately on scent descriptions. This made it difficult for me to visualize where things were taking place. It also didn't help that the same language was recycled over and over to describe said scents. The description of things being "rotting" or smelling of "animal carcass", is used on virtually every two pages throughout the first 50% of the book. As the book progressed and the source of this scent was revealed, it was clear the insatiable previous mentioning of it had been a very poor & heavy handed attempt at foreshadowing. And at this point all the revelations felt monotonous because they'd been made painfully obvious through the repetition.

The execution also fell flat with developing the characters for 80% of the book. I felt like I had little to no room to gain my own sense of the characters, with the non-stop info-dumping about their past effects on others. These sisters essentially have the ability to compel people, and that was the main focus of the initial character development. Opposed to being more subtle about the characters' habits, and letting readers feel the compulsion for themselves.

Another aspect that put a damper on story, is the handling of sexual assault topics. Early in the book, the main character engages in some victim-blamey rhetoric through ignorant comments about girls with short skirts and dark alleys...Later on she is in a SA situation of her own, in which she defends and sympathizes with her assaulter. In my opinion, randomly interjecting an almost-rape scene in the middle of what's described as a "supernatural fairytale", is very unnecessary and triggering. It had already been made clear that the main character had a meek persona, so making her a rape apologist didn't build the plot or excite me to read the rest of the story from her POV.

All in all the only aspects of this book that I enjoyed were the concept and the well developed ending. The last few chapters were truly the only ones that honed in on the horror element. I think the book had a lot of potential, and could have been executed way better by another author. This book was hard to fall into with not much jumping off the pages, and I found myself merely reading most of the time.
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews332 followers
January 25, 2022
Iris Hollow and her two older sister are different. They disappeared when they were children and returned a month changed. No memory of what happened to them but bonded in a way that can't be explained. As they get older, they notice they have power to do things. As they continue on to adulthood, Grey leaves home and becomes a fashion icon. Vivi joins a band and tours the world. Ivy is just trying to get through high school and be normal.

Then Grey disappears. In their frantic search for their missing sister, something starts to hunt them. Not human but from someplace else filled with dead things, he wants the sisters dead. As they explore Grey's present and past, they start learning secrets and what really happened when they disappeared as children. The sisters stand in front of a door that used to go somewhere, but now it goes somewhere else. Do they have courage to go through and find their truth?

I really enjoyed this book. I love secret doorways going to different worlds. The characters were likeable, and I wanted them to live. Definitely recommend this one.
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