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Audiobook Review: A Dark and Hollow Star (The Hollow Star Saga #1)

Published February 23rd 2021

Author: Ashley Shuttleworth

Narrators: Vikas Adam, Neo Cihi, Natalie Naudus & Imani Jade Powers

Audiobook Length: 19 hours 30 minutes

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.

A Dark and Hollow Star is the first novel in the Hollow Star Saga, which introduces the main players, the world, and the plot. As this is a longer series featuring multiple main characters, some characters get more attention in this novel compared to others. The story focuses on four faeries who come together after a series of murders take place. While there are four perspectives in this story of Arlo Jarsdel, Nausicaä Kraken,  Vehan Lysterne, and  Aurelian Bessel, there is a greater focus on the first two. With Vehan and Aurelian not being the main focus, it did make me question, at times, why they were included; however, I am sure it will all make more sense as the series moves forward. There are some fun secondary characters, such as Arlo’s cousin, Selidom, a fae Prince. He was an interesting addition that added some fun chaos to the story and it would have been entertaining to have his perspective included.

Arlo is an Ironborn, which is a human and fae hybrid, who is hoping to be granted full fae citizenship. As her powers have yet to manifest, she opts to postpone her citizenship hearing in hopes they come soon. She is between two worlds as she does not fully feel like she belongs in either one. The second perspective comes from Nausicaä, a fallen Fury, who is out to avenge her sister’s death. She was definitely a standout character with her snarky personality. I enjoyed her tougher exterior that was nicely balanced with her softer side where she acknowledges that immortals are not perfect and can experience hardships, such as mental health issues, just like mortals. The third perspective comes from Prince Vehan, a Seelie Summer. His character is looking at the manipulation and political intrigue around him while being torn with his feelings for Aurelian. The final is Aurelian, a Seelie Autumn, who is the Steward to Vehan. His perspective does not get explored fully, so I am looking forward to seeing his place in the story more in later installments.

The story begins with the characters in two main pairs with Arlo and Nausicaä together and Vehan and Aurelian together before the four come together in the latter half of the novel. The setting changes between Las Vegas, Nevada and Toronto with a mix of reality and fantasy in the human and fae worlds. The pacing in this story is very slow, at least for me, as it takes a very long time for anything to happen. There is a lot of set-up with the characters and the world before the main action gets started. While it makes sense in terms of building up anticipation for the rest of the series, it can become frustrating initially. This installment feels like a character focused story compared to plot, so it may not be for those who prefer story/plot focused novels. For me, if this was a standalone, it would have affected me more, but I gave the slower pacing a little more leeway considering there are still multiple novels to go in this series. Overall, the start may have been slow and it took me awhile to get into the story, but the ending pulled me in enough to make me want to continue with the series.

[Click Here for Trigger Warnings]

3 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: A Dark and Hollow Star (The Hollow Star Saga #1)

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