REVIEW | The Hollow Places | T. Kingfisher

This is normal, I told myself. This is totally normal. The world completely turned upside down and you were scared and you had to be competent and not freak out. Now you can freak out again and it’s just taking a while to all break loose. You’re fine. This is normal.

I got this one for Christmas (thanks Mols) and ended up marathoning it in a few days. It was so much fun, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will absolutely be reading more of T. Kingfisher’s work in the future.

Rating: 5 stars!

Trigger Warnings: body horror, death.

About the book:

Pray they are hungry.

Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring the peculiar bunker—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more you fear them, the stronger they become

What did I think?

This book was so readable. I picked it up before bed, intending to put my bookmark in it ready for the next day and I ended up reading 90 pages then and there, before waking up the next day and reading the whole of the rest of the book. It’s incredibly engaging and easy to read with fantastic prose and a character voice that I fell for instantly. The tone of this book was balanced really well between horror and humour, and I found myself laughing out loud at some points (brain goblins) only to be white-knuckle gripping the book a few pages later. Kara had so much personality and all of that showed in the prose, and I loved the way it was written. I’m desperate to hear an audiobook of this novel because I think it’d be a fantastic way to consume this story.

Part of what made this book both readable and lovable was the characters. Uncle Earl was a delight, though not a main character, but Kara (Carrot) and Simon were just the best. I loved them both, loved their dynamic and the sibling-like camaraderie they had. They were a really good balance for each other, urging each other forward and keeping each other safe in equal measure. I loved them both, and their friendship was an incredible part of this story. All of their actions felt realistic to me, two characters caught in a situation they were wholly unprepared for and with no idea what to do. It made them relatable, and made the atmospheric horror even more impactful because I could see myself in the awful events. And my other favourite ‘character’ was the Wonder Museum itself. Not quite a character, but with so much personality that it felt like one. The Museum was the perfect setting. Full of oddities and mysteries of its own, the hole felt like it fit right in there and created the perfect setting for Carrot and Simon to be primed to see Something Weird. I’d love to visit the Wonder Museum, and I found myself googling the exhibits mentioned to add to the really visual feel this novel had.

The atmosphere in this book was so chilling. I read the middle section of this book in the dark and it was honestly unnerving. I know I’m easily spooked, but oof. The universe that Kingfisher wrote about built from harmless into terrifying so swiftly and powerfully that I know I’ll be thinking about it for a long time. The idea of ‘Them’ was executed so well. Nothing scares me more than something unseen and unknowable, and They can triangulate by thought which is deeply terrifying. It made for a creepy book that built up to a fantastic, action packed climax and I loved the way that it resolved.


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Release Date: 3rd November 2020


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