Title: House of Hollow
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
Summary: 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.
Trigger warnings: blood/gore, death, murder (children and adults), self-harm, sexual assault, suicide
I’m always on the lookout for those creepy yet beautiful stories. Stories that are just so hauntingly breathtaking and dark that you have the hardest time forgetting about the characters and the plot. That is House of Hollow. This is one of those stories that feels almost impossible to forget, which is lucky for me, because this is a story I hope I never forget.
Iris is the perfect protagonist. Her elder sister, Grey, goes missing and leaves behind clues for Iris and her other older sister, Vivi, to find her. The girls come across weird clues and signs from Grey, which all lead to the thought that Grey knows what happened during that month the girls were missing. And Iris and Vivi will do anything to get their sister back and also find the answers to their past. But someone is hunting the two girls, someone who won’t stop until they’re dead.
I loved how all three sisters were different from each other. Grey is more daring and protective of her sisters and not afraid to go after what she wants. Vivi is all about living her best life, whether that’s out partying with her band and friends or spending time with her sisters. And Iris is more reserved and quiet, someone who prefers to stay out of the spotlight. But that mainly stems from the fact that the girls have unnatural abilities, which have caused people to either worship or fear them. It’s a power Iris doesn’t want but ultimately has.
The story itself is eerie, yet so atmospheric. It takes place in London, but how Sutherland describes London and the girls adds in that haunting feeling, like something isn’t quite right. And something isn’t right. Something is off about these sisters, and I spent a decent amount of time trying to guess what that thing was. I had an idea of where this story was going, but it took a turn I wasn’t expecting and wow, what a twist. What a great way to keep the reader hooked and guessing until almost the end.
Sutherland’s writing is just WOW. Beautifully lush and poetic but filled to the brim with the eeriness needed in haunting reads. Sutherland has crafted a world that’s all things creepy and dark but also all things meaningful. The sisterhood in House of Hollow is absolutely everything and so wonderfully captured. It was easy to feel how terrified Iris was for her sisters, but also how much love she has for both of them. Sutherland’s writing was just wholly vivid and descriptive and sometimes creepy, which was perfect for this story.
I was, overall, captivated by this book. The story is one unlike anything else, with unnatural characters in an unnatural world. But at the center of this book is the story of sisterhood and how far one will go to protect those they love. If you are looking for a book that’s atmospheric but haunting and with exceptional storytelling, I highly recommend reading House of Hollow.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars