The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
October 6. 2020 by Gallery/Saga Press
I love this author’s fantasy novels, but it wasn’t until last year that I realized she was delving into the horror genre as well. The Twisted Ones was FANTASTIC, which means as soon as her sophomore effort in the genre came up for review I hit my request button.
The Hollow Places is pure dark, creepy, goodness. I was enthralled from the moment the main protagonist, Kara (or Carrot by her uncle), describes her uncle’s weirdly charming museum. The Glory to God museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities, and Taxidermy, or as Kara calls it, The Wonder Museum, is full of the weird and the unique. But it is more Kara’s home than anywhere else on earth and when she finds herself going through a divorce and in tough times, it’s where she heads to.
The very best part of this book is the wonderful friendship between Kara and the quirky man who works in the coffee shop next door. Everyone needs a friend like Simon, especially if you suddenly find yourself in a hidden bunker, behind a hole in the wall, that leads to a magical place where literally everything is trying to kill you. Simon is the bomb and he and Kara kept me laughing out loud with their snappy dialogue and back and forth quips and comebacks. It felt weird to laugh this much while reading such an eerie and menacing story, but there you go.
Another great read by T. Kingfisher. Highly recommend.
Final grade- B+
The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith
Hell’s Library #2
October 6, 2020 by Ace Books
The first book in the Hell’s Library series, The Library of the Unwritten, was probably one of the most imaginative, unique fantasy books I read last year. Imagne a library in hell, full of books that were never completed and a librarian in charge of keeping them in order and their characters from escaping. And then one does escape… It was quite the adventure.
Book two starts out slow and I will admit it took me quite a bit to really become engaged. Thankfully I was familiar with the characters so I kept reading. Claire is now the Archivist in the Arcane Wing and Brevity is the new librarian. They become embroiled in a mystery when a huge pool of ink suddenly appears and it seems to be dangerous. Brevity and Claire are at odds on how to deal with the problem, and it doesn’t take readers long to figure out that there is more going on between them than just this issue.
I was very happy to see Hero and Rami get more page time. They are a huge part of why I ended up enjoying myself as much as I did after the slow start. Especially after being introduced to the new “villain” of this book. Whew, but she was awful.
I did end up enjoying this new adventure and was once again surprised by the ending. I did not see it coming. There is a blossoming relationship (I won’t say between who), but it makes me happy and I hope to see more in the finale to this trilogy.
How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge by K. Eason
The Thorne Chronicles #2
October 27, 2020 by DAW
I remember reading the first book in this series, How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse, on a plane trip last year and being quite enthralled by this world and its heroine. I was thrilled to get an early copy of its follow-up and couldn’t wait to see what shenanigans Rory had gotten up to since.
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. Even after reading the first book in this series, I will admit that I was just a little lost for the first few chapters. There is no adjustment period either, this author jumps right back in with new political intrigues and possible war. The main protagonists, and secondary characters, have all moved on to new places and have new loyalties.
Despite the shaky beginning, once I did figure it all out and orient myself with what was going on I got into this story. There are some interesting additions. I mean a sentient bioweapon who ASKS for help? The world-building is still top-notch and I like all the characters quite a bit.
I do believe this is a duology and thankfully epilogue does wrap things up nicely. Or maybe the author will decide to carry on in this world (universe)…
Final grade- B-/C+