Author: Lexi Ryan
Narrator: Casey Holloway
Audiobook Length: 13 hours 8 minutes
Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.
Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.
Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.
These Hollow Vows is the first novel in a new duology of the same name. If you are 100% not a fan of love triangles, it is best to avoid this novel. If, like me, you are willing to give them a chance, then I would try this novel. While the love triangle is not the entire story, which is also filled with a lot of secrets, betrayals, and political intrigue, it is a large portion of the novel. This novel has been compared to other series, such as, The Selection, The Folk of the Air, and ACOTAR. While I am behind the times and have not read ACOTAR, I have read the other two and can see how there are elements shared between them.
The main character, Abriella (Brie) Kincaid’s, mother, left Brie and her sister, Jas, to live with the Fae, which leads Brie to dislike the Fae and everything they stand for. Through a series of events, Jas is sold to the King of the Unseelie Courts, one of the Fae kingdoms. When Brie is coerced into helping the King, then she must live among the Fae and steel various objects. As a thief, she is not worried about this part of the quest, but she is not looking forward to being among those she despises. Through her time in the world of the Fae, she encounters an expected link to her life in the human world along with an even bigger plot with her at the center. The story’s plot with the quest and Brie to attempt to reunite with her sister essentially is half of the novel while the love triangle seemed to be the other half. Additionally, there is a Selection style subplot that is weaved into the story, which is not explored in detail, but is apparent with multiple suitors vying for a prince.
Brie is a character that I was on the fence about the entire time. I loved her loyalty and love for her sister as she made Jas a top priority in her life where she would do anything to protect her. On the other hand, I had a very difficult time understanding her and her potential love interests. The only reasons I could find for her liking both love interests is that she is attracted to them. For me, I could not connect to any real feelings aside from the physical for each. There were moments where I could easily picture her adding a third or fourth love interest to the mix if a really good-looking one came along at any point. This could just be my feeling on it, but there just was a lot missing to the romance aspect of the story. As this is a duology, I hope that the next novel will at least help me connect with the idea of one of the potential romances working, even if she ends up with no one in the end. For each love interest as individual characters, both I enjoyed as neither were quite what they seemed. Each were complex as more and more secrets were revealed about each as the story moved forward. Again, while I did not fully connect with them as love interests, I did enjoy learning about each as I moved through the novel.
The world building and political dynamics were very interesting to me. There are the Seelie and the Unseelie Courts and a lot of political intrigue existing in the entire Fae realm. I still have a ton of questions about the realms and the magic, but I feel that there is a lot of potential for these to be addressed in the sequel. The first half of the novel takes a bit to get going, but the second half captivated me more. While some of the elements were predictable, there were some unexpected twists. While there are multiple pieces that I felt could use some improvement in this novel, I believe the potential is there to make a great sequel. Overall, the novel was neither bad nor great, but there is enough there where I am curious to try the sequel.