The Hollow Places
Rating - ⭐⭐1/2
"Pray they are hungry.
Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring the peculiar bunker—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more you fear them, the stronger they become."
The Hollow Places is a standalone horror novel by T. Kingfisher.
I picked this up as part of a reading challenge I am doing where I pick up books from authors I have previously disliked (you can find that post here). I more or less had the same issues with this book as I had with The Twisted Ones.
The narrator didn't do a bad job necessarily, but there were a few things about their performance that impacted my experience. For one, she would pronounce some words strangely. There was a cat that lived in the museum and when it would meow her vocalization of it threw me off. She also pronounced ugh unusually as well (it sound like ugg the shoe brand).
For a first-person perspective novel, I also found that the narrator was a bit too casual in their tone except when there were expletives. I wanted the narrator to get into it just a bit more.
Good idea, bad execution is what this comes down to. Finding an impossible room in a house allows for so many fantastic possibilities, but the direction the author went in was just not it for me. The pacing of the story also did no favours. The revelation of what that room lead to was brought up early on, and then all of a sudden the characters were removed from that environment way too early on. You spend way too much time in the museum which was the least interesting aspect of the plot.
The most interesting plotline of the book was told through a series of journals that the main character read. It definitely took away from the story the fact that what was happening to the main character was not nearly as interesting as the side story. I would have been way more entertained if that was the focus of the plot rather than taxidermy coming to life.
While Kara wasn't the most annoying main character ever, she still wasn't a very good one. It really bothered me in the beginning that the fact that she is a graphic designer was being shoved down your throat. When it would go into detail about a new environment, she would pick out specific colours that she knew because of her job. It also kept bothering me that she kept pushing things aside that were happening in the museum even though she fully traveled to a parallel universe.
In the end, all I was left with was dissatisfaction. If the premise intrigues you, I would suggest that you either watch Stranger Things or Annihilation or pick up House of Leaves as that is more or less the king of 'house is bigger on the inside' concept.