‘House of Hollow’ book review: Dark and mesmerizing

Keyur Basnet

Keyur Basnet

‘House of Hollow’ book review: Dark and mesmerizing

There are so many questions that make you want to keep turning the pages, despite your palms being slick with fear

Four stars


House of Hollow

Krystal Sutherland

Published: 2021

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 300, Paperback

Strange things have always happened around the Hollow sisters—Grey, Vivi, and Iris—ever since they disappeared as children and reappeared a month later with no memory of the past. It was like they were reborn on the day they came back. Their father, Gabe Hollow, thinks something is wrong with them. Not only were their eyes and hair different, they also felt like strangers. He drives himself mad trying to work out the reason and eventually kills himself.

The girls settle into their daily routine with their mother but Grey and Vivi drop out of school and move out of their home to pursue their ‘dreams’. Grey becomes a model and designer while Vivi plays in a band. Iris, on the other hand, lives with their mother and goes to school. She (or rather her mother) hopes she will become a doctor one day. Then, 10 years later, Grey goes missing. And someone seems to be after Vivi and Iris.

The key to finding and saving Grey (as well as making sure the figure lurking in the shadows isn’t able to get to them) lies in decoding what happened all those years ago. Grey has left them clues and while trying to piece things together, they discover sinister and shocking secrets.

‘House of Hollow’ by Krystal Sutherland has a very sinister feel to it. Grey feels a little off, like she isn’t who she claims to be or maybe she knows more than she’s telling. Does she remember what happened when they disappeared? Why does the clothes she designs smell like rot and death? And can she really manipulate people’s minds to do as she wishes them to? Where does this power come from?

There are so many questions that make you want to keep turning the pages, despite your palms being slick with fear while reading this haunting tale where flowers spurt from wounds and a bull-horned creature, possibly from the other world, is on the prowl.

Also read: ‘The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina’ book review: A class of its own

I don’t usually read horror novels. This was my first since ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelly many, many years ago so I had forgotten how traumatizing it can be. An eerie feeling dominates your days when you are reading a well-executed horror story, and House of Hollow, with its beautiful writing and carefully crafted characters, gets under your skin.

The family drama makes the story relatable and emotional. Mother-daughter relationship is a crucial aspect of the narrative. Sutherland has woven many other strong themes into the plot. House of Hollow isn’t just a horror story. It deals with grief, love, obsession, the price of fame and beauty, and the bond between siblings. It’s a slim volume with a lot going that will have you marveling at Sutherland’s ability to keep it concise in such a compelling story.