Reading Corner: House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

It has been a while since a book swallowed me up whole. House of Hollow did just that, opening wide into a dark, sweetly perfumed world of rot, decay, and sharp beauty. Krystal Sutherland’s novel tells the story of three sisters, each angular and devastatingly enchanting, with crescent silver scars stitched into their necks, black eyes, and strange white hair. However, they weren’t always that way. On New Years, Vivi, Iris and Grey Hollow disappeared from a street in Edinburgh as normal little girls with blue eyes and reappeared in the same street one month later changed. Their baby teeth had grown back in and they had no memory of what had happened to them. Now Grey has vanished again, and the truth of what transpired refuses to stay hidden…

Sutherland’s novel is lush and dark and glittering in all the right places. She paints a world that is endlessly detailed and filled with small treasures: scrolls and vials of perfume stitched into wood-smoked tulle gowns, waxy white flowers growing from dead things, messages left in invisible ink, and girls that can feel each other’s pain. It’s a world that you want to fall into, and at the same time run far and quickly away from.

The book is written from the point of view of Iris – the youngest Hollow – who is gradually piecing together the story of her own disappearance as she searches for Grey, whilst also trying to understand who she is in relation to her sisters. The story moves along at a pace that keeps you engaged and guessing, laying a trail that is totally unexpected, consistently surprising, and whose ending left me reeling. Days after I finished reading this I continued to turn it over in my head, running my fingers over its edges. 

If you love the over-the-top magic of a classic coming of age young adult fantasy and have the penchant for a little horror (or a thriller) House of Hollow will be just what you never knew you needed. 

– Natasha Matsaert

Featured Image Source: Pexels

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