Book #14 The Hollows Series
Published by ACE Publishing (16th June 2020)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR THINGS IN EARLIER BOOKS, CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Actual rating of 3.75
Welcome back to The Hollows, where witches, vampires, pixies, elves and demons fight together to save their world and those that they love. The 14th book in Harrison’s esteemed Hollows series sees us picking up where the last one pretty much left off. People are attacking their loved ones over grievances from decades past that they had worked out and moved on from, finding themselves nearly killing their significant other with no reason as to why, and now there’s a zombie in Rachel’s garden. Investigating the zombie, as well as the domestic attacks between partners ends up opening a massive can of worms that once again, Rachel feels responsible for. There is a creature out and about looking for her, one that hasn’t been seen for a very long time. Add to this the appearance of a strange new demons, and your have a regular Tuesday morning for Rachel Mariana Morgan. Can she save the day without having to sacrifice too much?
When I heard that Harrison was writing another full length Hollows novel, I’m not gonna lie, I peed a little. The Hollows is what got me back into reading in my adult life. I was always an avid reader as a child, but lost it a little in my teen years. Here’s me, 18 years old, scrolling through Myspace (yes, I’m THAT old) and I come across page (or an advert I can’t remember which) for a book called “Dead Witch Walking”. It sparked my interest, because at that time, I did realise that there was a whole genre of books that were about all of the things on the paranormal/supernatural side of life. It opened up a whole new world for me and sparked a book addiction that I never thought possible. I was sad when I saw the series come to an end around seven years ago, but at the same time, I felt like the story was wrapped up neat enough that I was satisfied. Naturally I pre-ordered this one as soon as I saw it, but I’m not gonna lie, it didn’t give me the same feelings as it did 16 years ago.
I was a little bit confused at how this one was going to go, seeing as how the ‘last’ book ended with our characters significantly older, yet still functional. However, this one picked up as though the ending of the other never happened and we were back in the Hollows with our characters nary having aged a day. This confused me a bit, and I will say I was a little annoyed that the whole ending seemed explained away in roughly a sentence somewhere around maybe a third odd into the book? (I’ve been reading the book for many a month now, so forgive me if my timeline is incorrect). I don’t know why, I just kinda wish this was explained earlier on, it’s such a tiny grievance and I’m probably the only one that it annoyed, but it still annoyed me. One thing I did like, was the case file in the beginning of the book which gave a rundown of what had happened previously, without boring us or making the story longer, this was a clever inclusion and way to recap without me having to re-read the series which was great. Though I’m beginning to think that maybe I should have re-read the series, and maybe I would have enjoyed this book more than I did.
I was left feeling, for a good portion of the book, like maybe my reading tastes had changed and this wasn’t what I was looking for anymore. In the beginning I was so excited to see the return of all of our beloved characters, but the elation soon wore off and left me feeling a bit let down and empty. I felt like the magic that I was once in awe of while reading about Rachel and Co.’s endeavors, was gone. So I didn’t fly through this book like I thought I would. I feel like maybe I partially wrecked it for myself. Having always held Harrison’s Hollows series really high in my mind, seeing as it was the series that rekindled my love of reading, that I was expecting so much, not realising how much time had passed between me last reading the series, and now. Obviously my tastes have changed over the years, as everyone’s does, but it wasn’t until I read this book that I realised how much. Don’t get me wrong, I still a love a good urban fantasy story, but I find I’m reaching for them less and less.
Two of my favourite characters are Al and Ivy, and I was sorely disappointed at how little screen time they get in this story. Al gets virtually none, and it is explained away in a more than satisfactory reasoning, but I’m still gonne be dirty about it, because Al is life. And Ivy…I’ve found that since Nina came into the story a couple of books ago, Ivy just hasn’t been the same and I find myself actually hating Nina’s character for taking Ivy out of the spotlight. So missing two of my favourite characters did put a dampener on the story. I must admit though, I really enjoyed the addition of Hodin and I’m so looking forward to seeing what happens next after the gauntlet thrown down by Rachel in the end of this one.
I found Trent and Rachel’s relationship to feel so forced for most of this book, but maybe I’m still dirty about Kisten…yeah okay, I’m still super dirty about Kisten and haven’t found it in my heart to forgive Harrison for that little event in book 5. It’s honestly probably the main reason that I haven’t re-read the series if I’m honest. I never quite got over it. What I will say though, is in the last quarter of the book, I really began to feel the love between Trent and Rachel, it no longer felt forced or awkward, which I’m honestly so happy about.
The story itself felt a bit convoluted in the beginning, a bit messy, however, after the 60% odd mark, I felt like the story was really beginning to weave together and I started to get that old Hollows feel back. I really enjoyed the last quarter of the book, though not as much as I used to enjoy the series, it was still there and that’s the main thing. Reading the final chapter had me feeling little inklings of the magic that I so missed. Put it this way, I was halfway through the book and saying to friends who were also fans that I honestly didn’t know if I was going to buy the next book, however, when I closed that back cover yesterday, I just knew I had to preorder the next one.
I’m not sure how much more Harrison will be able to do with this series, as I know that it will eventually have that “monster of the week” feeling with maybe one or two overarching storylines to keep it going. What I do know is, as long as they keep getting regular yearly releases, I feel that I can capture a tiny bit of the magic that I used to feel towards this series, and hopefully I can look at it with more mature eyes and find different things to love about it.
*= Read book. Repeat may earn commission on purchases made through these links.