2021 Book Review Book Reviews Fantasy

A Dark and Hollow Star

Hello There! I’m back and better than ever. After going through the largest reading slump known to mankind, I’ve returned with a new book review. Of course I had to go with a fantasy novel to commemorate my return to the bookish community and I apologize for my sudden drop off the face of the earth. I will do my best to acquire a fairly consistent posting schedule, but until that fateful day, pick up the crumbs of this sad stab at stalling with a new book review.

A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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 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?


A Dark and Hollow Star is a book that I will always look back on with the utter most confusion. Part of me is noting all of the problems I have with this book while another part of me just irrationally loves this book. In the end I’ll have to go with the more logical approach to writing this review and talk about why I didn’t like some aspects, but if I’m being honest with myself, there will always be a part of me that enjoyed this book.

One major issue I had with this book is that the plot doesn’t pick up until you’re more than halfway through. I’ve already finished this book and I still don’t really know what this it is about. I understand that it’s supposed to be about four teens trying to defeat the bad guy and jumping head first into a much larger problem, but the parts of the book that were important went by in a blur. I feel like some scenes that were important were written off as casual things while lesser scenes were given much more attention.


Another problem I had with this book is that most of the characters were either really dry or too fake. Nausicaä, for example, was such an inconsistent character it got kind of annoying. Everything about her seemed so forced in writing that it came off as the author adding her to the story as a way to “spice things up”. Aurelian, on the other hand, was probably the most dry character. I honestly couldn’t tell you what he contributed to the plot that was evident in this book. It’s obvious that he knows some big secret that will contribute to another book, but in this book he was practically absent. Another thing that got on my nerves was that Arlo basically had plot armor. She’s the main character and she didn’t seem to get a scratch (literally and figuratively). Another thing that needed more work on in this book was that none of the characters had chemistry with their “love interest”. I won’t name who’s with who so I don’t spoil anything, but the people who did end up together or had tension in relationships had as much chemistry as someone with their casual work friend.

One thing that I did like about this book is that there is LGBTQ+ rep. That is one thing that is often overlooked in books and seeing some representation was good. I think my favorite characters are Luck and Lethe. They both offered interesting scenes and characters to consider and they were the least annoying of all the characters. Also when Ashley Shuttleworth described what Luck looked like at the end of the book they sounded really cool looking.


A Dark and Hollow Star was something that caused me to eventually come to terms with the fact that sometimes I like the idea of the book more than the actual product. There were a lot of aspects of the book that I did not fully enjoy, but there were some small saving factors as well. In the end, this book got me out of a reading slump so I guess there isn’t much more I could ask for.

Let’s Talk:
  • Have you read A Dark and Hollow Star?
    • Am I the only one who still doesn’t really know what was going on in this story?
  • Do you enjoy fantasies with fey aspects?
  • Do you enjoy games like D&D that this novel shared many aspects with?

One reply on “A Dark and Hollow Star”

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