The Hollow Places

by T. Kingfisher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was bizarre and entertaining all at once. I loved the fact that I constantly felt uncomfortable even if nothing overly spooky happened. The atmosphere was unsettling both in this unknown dimension that was discovered and within the museum the book mostly takes place in. I genuinely liked the main characters and wanted nothing bad to happen to them.

I loved that I finished this book still having questions, but the kind of questions I also didn’t want answers to.

All My Thoughts

May contain spoilers.

This was exactly the kind of horror book I wanted to read. The majority of the spooky aspect comes from the unsettling atmosphere that is everywhere within the book. The majority of the story takes place in a sort of oddities museum which is already a bit uncomfortable. It is described as a place I would love to visit and worry about what my follow me out. On top o this, finding a gateway to a scary and unknown place that has doors connecting to other places in other universes just adds to it.

I think the thing that really makes this book work is that combines humor and horror so very well. I loved Kara, the main character. She is witty and even though she’s got some baggage with her ex-husband and her mother she is very strong-willed and doesn’t come off self-pitying. She has a history with the museum and the fact that she intends to live there in order to help her uncle run it adds a level to her personality. She is paired, though not romantically, with Simon who works at the coffee shop next door. These characters together have great chemistry. Again, the humor and banter between them feel real and flow well.

Once these two characters discover the portal in the wall everything takes a sharp turn into uncomfortable. The world they find on the other side instantly feels deadly even if we don’t see exactly why right away. The rules of this place are different and actually fairly difficult to explain. This was so perfect for the unsettling feeling the book projects. Not knowing what they are dealing with means not knowing how to fix the situation. I do admit that things coming alive in the museum and helping to protect Kara was just a bit on the cheesy side and did dull the mood a little bit, but I also don’t think it kills the rest of the story.

Overall

This was a great horror with a bit of body horror, but more just an unsettling atmosphere. Absolutely worth a read to feel uncomfortable without understanding exactly why.

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