Featured Review: A Dark and Hollow Star (Ashley Shuttleworth)

51T76qMNIL._SX326_BO1204203200_

About This Book:

The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones in this thrilling urban fantasy set in the magical underworld of Toronto that follows a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes could expose the hidden world of faeries to humans.

Choose your player.

The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.
A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.
A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.
The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.

For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts—until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.

Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?

Wish them luck. They’re going to need it.

 

 

*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr, Staff Reviewer*

A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR is a slowly building YA fantasy that takes the reader on a wild ride through a world of magic. The book primarily follows five characters, Hero (a villain), Nausicaä (a former fury), Arlo (an ironborn), Vehan (a sidhe prince), and Aurelian (a lesidhe guard). In Toronto, the seat of the High King of all the fae courts, something dark has been happening. It began with disappearing humans, which was not of interest to the fae, and has transformed to the gruesome murders of the ironborn, individuals who are half fae and half human.

Nausicaä is a former fury who fell from grace after taking human lives while grieving her sister. She now lives among the mortals, and she soon learns more information about the deaths of the ironborn that cause her to take up the mystery of who is behind it - deaths that she as the Dark Star is being blamed for. Arlo is an ironborn who almost failed her Weighing, the time when the courts decide whether her magic should be taken from her and she should be separated from the fae courts entirely or whether she should be allowed to join. After her cousin's intervention, they have allowed her to delay the Weighing. As an ironborn, she has an interest in learning and stopping what is happening, but her mix of naivete and bravery is really what gets her accidentally involved, beginning with her seeking of the Dark Star.

Vehan is a sidhe prince of the Spring Court, and Aurelian is his lesidhe guard, assigned by his cruel mother. Vehan has a deep interest in solving these crimes, for several personal reasons. As they begin to investigate, their paths will soon cross with Nausicaä and Arlo, and soon, they will be stumbling into dangers that are bigger than they anticipated.

What I loved: The world and character building is really strong, and the plot is really cleverly woven. This book, as the first in the series, really focuses on the characters individually and those around them. There are several characters whose perspectives that we do not see that were equally intriguing, such as Celadon, the high prince. In terms of the main four, they each endear themselves to the reader's heart. They have all faced challenges that they work to overcome, and their lives are still evolving. This ended up being quite the journey, with all sorts of unexpected elements along the way.

The danger the main four face is present throughout, and I appreciated the tension that arises as they begin to search out the individuals behind the ironborn deaths. Despite the tension, Nausicaä's sarcasm works beautifully to break it and mix some humor into the read. I also enjoyed the LGBT romances that are developing in the book. Although this was a much lesser theme, with the deep character development here, it felt like the cherry on top.

There are some interesting themes about suppression of the ironborn, fate, and the balance of power with morality. The ironborn have definitely been treated as lesser and now the council seems to be doing what they feel is in their (ironborn) best interest, often casting them out. However, the reader can definitely see that this is not the case. The High King has the most power, and while he was initially interested in protecting all the fae and doing what is best for his people, his goals seem to have evolved over time. Here, these may be some of the effects of the immortal crown that was not meant for human heads (some interesting symbolism), but it may also be the corruptibility of power. Regardless, I am curious to see how this will develop as his role in it all is yet unclear.

What left me wanting more: Owing to the many characters and deep world-building here, the book is a bit slow at the start and at first, it is difficult to keep track of who is who and how they fit into the story. This definitely gets better as it moves on, and I think future books will be able to move much faster because of the breadth and depth of information given here.

Final verdict: With strong world-building and compelling characters, A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR is a lush and captivating YA fantasy that begins a series I am eager to follow. Highly recommend for fans of Amanda Hocking, Holly Black, and Julie Kagawa.

 

 

*Find More Info & Buy This Book HERE!*

Spotlight on Like Home (Louisa Onome), Excerpt, Pl...
YABC's Buzzworthy Books Of Winter 2021 Plus GIVEAW...

Related Posts

 

Comments

Already Registered? Login Here
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Phoebe Unfired
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
CONNECTING IS TOUGH WHEN YOU CAN'T EVEN TOUCH ...
Thirty Talks Weird Love
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A 13-year-old girl growing up in Mexico is visited by...
Admission
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lie. Cheat. Bribe. How far would you go to get...
Running
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When fifteen-year-old Cuban American Mariana Ruiz’s father runs for president,...
City of Spells (Into the Crooked Place, #2)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
City of Spells, the follow-up to Alexandra Christo's gritty YA...
Christmas Parade
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
A delightful Christmas board book filled with hilarious characters and...
Best Friend in the Whole World
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Roland lives a quiet life filled with books, music, and...
Bird Show
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Award-winning author-illustrator Susan Stockdale welcomes you to the Bird Show,...
Down Comes the Night
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw...
My Book of Feelings (My World)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Inspired by the Montessori method of education this unique board...
Sweet & Bitter Magic
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery...
My High School Rebel Boyfriend
 
3.8 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
He’s a rebel with a cause… to make my...
The Castle School (for Troubled Girls)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Sheinmel comes...
Dark Stars
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dorothy finds herself completely alone. Roman is dead. The...
Follow Your Arrow
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, this...
Daughter of Darkness
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
She is destined to kill a demon. He is...

Latest Member Reviews

Admission
 
5.0
"‘Admission’ by Julie Buxbaum is a modern and definitely current read on a topic that has been in the news...."
Running
 
5.0
"‘Running’ by Natalia Sylvester is a trend-setting anthem for anyone who has ever wanted to be the change they wish..."
The Fire in the Glass
 
4.7
"Lily can see the future and when she sees her friend killed, she tries to save her. Lily is an..."
City of Spells (Into the Crooked Place, #2)
 
4.7
"CITY OF SPELLS is a stunning conclusion to an enthralling YA fantasy duology. The book plunges us into the story..."
Christmas Parade
 
4.5
"CHRISTMAS PARADE is another cute and brightly colored board book from Boynton. In this book, children see a Christmas parade,..."
Best Friend in the Whole World
 
5.0
"BEST FRIEND IN THE WHOLE WORLD is a sweet picture book about friends and doing the right thing. Roland lives..."
The Project
 
4.7
"What worked: This is one intense psychological tale of a girl trying to reconnect with her sister after she joins..."
The Threads of Magic
 
3.0
"Pip picks pockets to get food for himself and his sister, El. When he picks something unexpected, a mysterious box..."
Bird Show
 
4.3
"If birds had a fashion show, they would show off their unique plumage! BIRD SHOW is a brightly colored book..."
My Book of Feelings (My World)
 
5.0
"MY BOOK OF FEELINGS is a great conversation starter for emotions with toddlers. The book features spinning emoji faces of..."
Sweet & Bitter Magic
 
4.7
"SWEET & BITTER MAGIC is a lush and enthralling YA fantasy filled with magic, pain, and love. In this world,..."
The Smile Shop
 
3.5
"THE SMILE SHOP is a cute story about a young boy who is shopping for something special. He has a..."
Stanley's Lunch Box
 
4.0
"STANLEY'S LUNCH BOX is a cute board book that combines a favorite character with a shopping trip to the market...."
What Are Unicorns Made Of?
 
3.5
"WHAT ARE UNICORNS MADE OF? is a brightly colored board book that questions what makes a unicorn. The rhyming text..."
Grandfather Bowhead, Tell Me a Story
 
4.5
"GRANDFATHER BOWHEAD, TELL ME A STORY features a grandfather and grandson whale who are sharing stories. The grandchild asks for..."
Stanley's Toy Box
 
4.0
"Stanley heads to the park with Little Woo and Betty in this cute board book. STANLEY'S TOY BOX depicts a..."
Sing Me Forgotten
 
5.0
"SING ME FORGOTTEN is an enchanting, compelling, and unexpected YA fantasy retelling of Phantom of the Opera. In this world,..."
The Valley and the Flood
 
4.3
"Rose Colter is adrift. She can't be where she was staying for the holidays but she can't go home yet..."
Peek-a-Boo Little Reindeer
 
4.0
"PEEK-A-BOO LITTLE REINDEER is a simple and cute board book with felt flaps to lift on each page. Little Reindeer..."
Perfect on Paper
 
5.0
"PERFECT ON PAPER is a delightful YA romantic comedy. Darcy has been operating Locker 89 at her school for years...."