House of Hollow is the dark fairytale of your nightmares and I absolutely loved every second of it! This is easily going to be one of my favorite books of 2021.
Trigger warnings: sexual assault, self-harm, suicide (in the past but mentioned), death, murder – and there are two mentions of Harry Potter (one in chapter 3, and another at the beginning of chapter 4).
Title: House of Hollow
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
I’ll start off by saying, I don’t like the horror genre in general, or horror movies, it freaks me out, but this book had perfect amount of creepy factor that it made reading before bed both thrilling and terrifying. This book is a mix of horror, mystery, fantasy and a dash of contemporary.
The three Hollow sisters went missing as children in Edinburgh right under their parents noses – and showed up again a month later, unharmed, but remembering nothing of where they went. It’s one of the great mysteries that everyone knows about. Fast forward 10 years, set in London, Eldest sister Grey is an insanely popular designer and model. Middle sister Vivi is traveling around Europe in a punk rock band. And youngest sister Iris is keeping her mother happy by attending high school. They all know they’re a little strange, they had dark hair and blue eyes as children and returned with blonde white hair and black eyes. The scent of nature and flowers follow them everywhere. And now Grey has gone missing.
The pacing of this book is fast and never drops the beat for even a second. The writing style is lyrical and beautiful, and Sutherland’s best novel to date. I read this slowly to cherish each word, each sentence, each chapter, but wanted to keep turning the pages to know what would happen next.
This is a story of sisterly bonds that go beyond what anyone else can understand. The Hollow sisters can all feel each other, no matter the distance, and when Vivi comes home, both her and Iris feel that something is wrong when nobody can find Grey for days. It’s a mix of mystery and suspense when both sisters think they see a man in a horned mask following them. I love the bond these three sisters have – I feel it so strongly on the pages. It is mentioned how they fight and disagree, as any siblings do, and are all very different, but they love each other more than anything else and I love that bond. Each sister has a unique personality and they are each well developed characters.
House of Hollow is a dark fairytale and not all that happy – all three sisters have dealt with catcalling and unwanted attention from men throughout their lives. They take the longer route home, the one to avoid unwanted gazes. And as Iris says, “-but that was my burden to bear.” It just breaks my heart that she, and many girls and women, think they have to bear that burden – just because they are a woman, that men have the right to their bodies. This book deals with some heavy real life issues such as this.
They set out to find Grey as they know the secrets she likes to leave behind, like a puzzle or a game – and only Iris and Vivi can understand how Grey’s mind works.
Another unexpected item was the LGBTQ+ rep in this book! Iris is bisexual, Vivi is lesbian, and Grey is straight. While there isn’t really any romance in this book, past romantic and sexual relations are mentioned, such as Iris mentioning she likes both genders, and Vivi missing making out with women in bars after her gigs. Grey has (had?) a model boyfriend named Tyler who Iris and Vivi suspect of having to do with Grey’s disappearance. And can I just say I really appreciate a book that doesn’t focus on romantic love, but on sisterly love? I loved it.
While this book is very dark, there are quite a few pop culture references through that I really enjoyed and had me smiling, including Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and the Chronicles of Narnia to name a few.
House of Hollow has so many unexpected twists and turns, you’ll never guess what happens next, and I was guessing until the very last page! While this is a standalone novel, the ending has a slight open ending and I wouldn’t me mad if Sutherland wrote a sequel. I could keep going on and on about how magical and horrific (in a good way) this story was – but I’ll let you discover that for yourself. I recommend reading at night for full scare factor, bonus points if its also raining out.