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  • Writer's picturecharlottelzang

Book Review: The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

My Rating:

A door to another world accidentally appears in a museum of weird artifacts, but it doe not lead to a fantasy world of fairies and lions in T. Kingfisher’s The Hollow Places. 

Following her amicable and unexpected divorce, Kara must confront the idea of moving home with a mother she loves but doesn’t get along with. In steps, her uncle, the owner and purveyor of a charming museum of the weird. He offers her a room in the museum, so long as she helps him out around the place. Getting on in age, and with a knee injury that makes him hobble around most days, Kara is thrilled at the aspect. 

She falls into a blessed routine, cataloging the taxidermy and other assorted items in the museum while also completing freelance graphic design jobs and listening to childhood tales of Simon, a sociable eccentric who runs the neighboring coffee shop. When Uncle Earl finally commits to having knee surgery, Kara is left in charge. 

She enlists Simon’s help when a patch of drywall gets knocked in, only for them to uncover a hidden hallway and a door that has been bolted shut. Ominous though that may be, it is only the beginning of a terrifying, accidental escapade into another world. Where willows whisper, spirits rise like wraiths in the night, and the horrors of this dangerous world threaten to spill into Kara’s. 

Instantly likable, Kara narrates with charm and sarcasm while Simon acts as a cunning, if not always capable, sidekick. Hints of Lovecraftian lore might trickle through Kingfisher’s otherworldly creatures, but her twist is genuinely unique. Wildly succeeding in the horror of The Hollow Places is the precise measure of description, leaving much to the reader’s imagination. Nothing could be worse, as the creatures that stalk this strange land hum like Tibetan singing bowls but go unseen, sliding beneath the surface of reality. 

The Hollow Places makes the skin crawl and will have you looking at taxidermied animals in a whole new light. Ancient relic horror story meets Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer in T. Kingfisher’s latest. 

Many thanks to T. Kingfisher, Gallery Books, and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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