Sunday, January 15, 2023

Review: The Hollow Kind by Andy Davidson

by Andy Davidson
Release Date: October 11, 2022
2022 MCD
Kindle Edition; 448 Pages
ISBN: 978-0374538569
Audiobook: B09Q77WZSC
Genre: Fiction / Horror / Gothic
Source: Review copy from publisher

2.75 / 5 Stars

Nellie Gardner is looking for a way out of an abusive marriage when she learns that her long-lost grandfather, August Redfern, has willed her his turpentine estate. She throws everything she can think of in a bag and flees to Georgia with her eleven-year-old son, Max, in tow.

It turns out that the estate is a decrepit farmhouse on a thousand acres of old pine forest, but Nellie is thrilled about the chance for a fresh start for her and Max, and a chance for the happy home she never had. So it takes her a while to notice the strange scratching in the walls, the faint whispering at night, how the forest is eerily quiet. But Max sees what his mother can't: They're no safer here than they had been in South Carolina. In fact, things might even be worse. There's something wrong with Redfern Hill. Something lurks beneath the soil, ancient and hungry, with the power to corrupt hearts and destroy souls. It is the true legacy of Redfern Hill: a kingdom of grief and death, to which Nellie's own blood has granted her the key.
My Thoughts
The Hollow Kind definitely had an intriguing description, and I always gravitate to those stories about houses where something creepy is going on or has an evil legacy.  I also tend to like ambiguity, where you are not exactly sure what is happening, but go along just for the simple pleasure of reading a good story. But sometimes, that ambiguity can be a negative thing as this book just took for granted that you would get what happened without often giving enough descriptions of the event, then other events would go on for pages and pages.  And personally, I feel like some really important events fell within the ambiguous and glossed over sections.
The characters were okay, although none of them really had any distinct personalities, not even Nellie, I did like her character though, but preferred Max, her son, and wished the story had revolved more around him.  I didn't find the characters that difficult to keep track of, but did feel most of the secondary characters were one-dimensional and wished the author had spent a bit more time developing them so they had more distinct personalities. And character introductions were a bit of a misfire.  Suddenly, there was discussion about Agatha, and although I get it was supposed to be mysterious, the way it was thrown in didn't fit the narrative and threw me out of the story.  It was a struggle trying to piece together who she was, the role she played in the book, and how everything fit together as everything was so ambiguous.  In the end, I found her to be the most intriguing character without being give a chance to shine, if that makes sense.
While the writing style was a bit slow, I actually didn't mind the descriptive writing as gothic horror needs to be soaked up and absorbed, to really seep into your skin.  And the slower pace didn't really bother me, but the pacing was a bit much for me, as things that really needed development were glossed over and other events just dragged on and on, where I started losing interest and began skipping paragraphs and even pages.  It was laborious reading at times as events and people were just dropped as if you were aware of them; I had to re-read a couple of sections just to make sure I hadn't missed something important. There were some creepy moments in this book, and I do think Mrs. Redfern had the best story arc; I just wish the author had developed both of these more which would have added more tension, creepiness, and terror.  

The Hollow Kind had some creepy moments as well as some great potential, but the story itself suffered from pacing issues, lack of character development, and ambiguous writing tactics that made it difficult for me to be fully invested in the story.  It did redeem itself somewhat with the ending, but by then, I was struggling to finish the book, and honestly, the ending was predictable and didn't offer anything new to the genre.  Overall, I feel like this was a miss for me, but I did like the writing style, even if the pacing was off, and would like to see what the author writes next. 



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