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A Book Review of “The Hollow Places” by T. Kingfisher

Author:

Rose is an enthusiastic writer and reader who publishes articles every Thursday. She enjoys all book genres, especially drama and fantasy.

What’s the Big Deal?

An woman of many styles, both literary and otherwise, T. Kingfisher (also known as Ursula Vernon) is mainly known for her graphic novel Digger and two children’s book series, Hamster Princess and Dragon Breath. Her acclaimed horror novel The Twisted Ones made The Hollow Places, a hot-off-the-press new horror story, even more popular among critics and devoted readers. Based on The Willows by Algernon Blackwood—a novella called “the most terrifying story ever written” by H.P. Lovecraft—The Hollow Places is an eerie, startling tale quite deserving of the fame it has accumulated.

“The Hollow Places” by T. Kingfisher

“The Hollow Places” by T. Kingfisher

Plot Summary

After divorcing her husband, native North Carolinian Kara moves back to her hometown and takes residence in her uncle’s strange museum: the Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities, and Taxidermy. Of course, Kara expects that the temporary arrangements will take some getting used to, especially once her uncle is taken to the hospital for knee surgery and she has to run the museum on her own—but she never expects what happens next.

During one of her maintenance sweeps, Kara discovers a hole in the wall behind one of the exhibits. She assumes a tourist knocked into the wall and made a run for it, so it’s more of an annoyance than anything else—that is, until she and the eccentric barista next door, Simon, go through the hole and discover that it is, in fact, a portal to a strange (and more than a bit creepy) new world.

The pair are unnerved to be sure, but the panic doesn’t set in until much later, when Kara and Simon realize what they may have gotten themselves into. Unable to find their way home, they spend the night in an abandoned bunker. Much time passes before they realize that they may be unable to get back home for a reason: something, something sinister, may be trying to keep them there.

Many frights and close calls later, Kara and Simon tumble back through the hole, finally home again, finally safe (or so they think). Because although they patched the hole with metal, covered it with a sheet, and pushed a display case over it, sometimes things don’t go as planned—and as the realities of their situation unfold, it’s clear that Kara and Simon’s otherworldly tale is far from over.

Quick Facts

  • Author: T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon)
  • Pages: 337
  • Genre: Horror fiction, fantasy fiction
  • Ratings: 4/5 Goodreads, 4.2/5 Barnes & Noble
  • Release date: October 6, 2020
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster

To Read or Not to Read?

I recommend this book if:

  • You’ve read and enjoyed books like Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King or the collaborative Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief and Sinister
  • You’re a fan of horror tales—as long as they’re not too scary!
  • You think it’s important for a novel to have relatable, well-rounded characters
  • A vivid imagination is something you could confidently count on having
  • You like collections, oddities or knickknacks; the book takes place in a museum of taxidermy and assorted memorabilia

I love my mother. I cannot live with her. We are too much alike. If you have ever seen those photos of two deer who got their antlers locked together during a fight, dragging each other around until they both starve to death, you have a pretty good idea of how my mother and I get along.

— T. Kingfisher, “The Hollow Places”

Reviews

“If you like the sound of a suspenseful horror story with a creepy atmosphere narrated by a snarky heroine, do yourself a favour and pick this up once it’s released! With thrills, chills and constant laughs, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.” —The Nerd Daily

The Hollow Places is very much about its setting. You will find yourself getting lost in the place and its horrors. The characters are important but it is very much the places that linger more than the people. This was a really good book and I am so glad that I was able to read it. Spooky, unnerving, and well worth the read.” —Sipreadlove.com

T. Kingfisher, the book’s author

T. Kingfisher, the book’s author

The Takeaway

My opinion of the book changed several times as I read The Hollow Places this week. Overall, Kingfisher’s novel has a comfortable amount of charm, humor, and entertaining characterization—but at times these traits would overpower the more important elements of fear and suspense.

Occasionally the book was somewhat redundant, repeating certain phrases and trains of thought that had already been established, and some of the (albeit impressive) descriptions could be difficult to follow. But all in all, The Hollow Places was impressive—unique in style and creepy while maintaining a relatable narrative. If you’re interested, you can find the book here.

Comments

Rose McCoy (author) from West Virginia on November 06, 2020:

That’s great, Vikas! You should be able to find the book at the link in my article, at a bookstore, or at your local library under “New Releases” or “Horror.” :)

Vikas Manotra from Maharashratra, India on November 06, 2020:

After reading your article I definitely read this book