I managed to get an ARC of this book right before release on NetGalley, but it wasn’t until I purchased a physical copy at B&N that I got motivated to read it. See, I knew I was going to love this book (and obviously I was right) so it made sense to just buy a copy and I’m so glad I did. I loved this book so much and I can’t wait for the sequel!
A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth
Published: February 23, 2021
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Fantasy
Choose your player.
The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.
A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.
A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.
The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.
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 queer 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?
Wish them luck. They’re going to need it.
This review is going to be pretty short because the only thing I can really say is I LOVED IT. The beginning opened with such a hook that I couldn’t stop reading and the only reason I didn’t inhale this book was because of work and the fact that I bought a house!
This book takes place in two realms, the human world and the hidden fae realm, which I thought was so cool. I loved the fact that the fae were able to easily move from each realm and go in between whenever they wanted, especially since Arlo, one of our main characters, has a human father living in the human realm. While we spend a good amount of time in the human realm, I loved all of the moments in the fae realm. I can only imagine how sparling and gorgeous these locations were.
The characters were also so interesting – especially Naucassia (Nos) – who is a forsaken Fury forced to live as an immortal in the human realm. Nos is snarky, sassy, and also more human than she would like to admit. Arlo was also great, especially once she gained some self confidence and came out of her shell. Vehan and Aurelian, our remaining two main characters, had me confused at first because they were kind of interchangeable in my mind. I kept getting confused who was who at first, but by the end, it is very clear they have wildly different personalities! And I feel like this varied mix of characters made this book that much more interesting. While I loved the plot, the characters completely sold this book for me and made me love it even more.
Another thing I really appreciated was the discussion on mental illness. This book has a lot of trigger warnings which are included at the beginning of the book and thankfully nothing was too intense for me.
CW: anger, arson, blood/gore, body horror (minor), death of a child, depression, disownment, divorce, drug use/addiction, grief/grieving, human trafficking, poverty, psychopathy, stalking, suicide (past, off-page), suicide ideation, toxic relationship/manipulation, trauma/PTSD, racism, violence/gun violence
Talking about mental health and the importance of mental health was a big aspect of this book. I appreciated the discussion of how suicide affects everyone, especially loved ones, and that the trauma never truly leaves a person. It’s important to discuss these kinds of things because many people don’t realize the impact suicide has on their family simply because they think that the world, and the people around them, are better off without them. Which is not true.
This book covers serious topics, while also including light and dark humor, and I could appreciate that. While reading this though because there is a big discussion on heavier topics, this felt like it would have been better as an adult novel. At times it felt like I was reading adult fiction instead of YA – so if you’re thinking of reading this or gifting it to someone, it is definitely bordering New Adult and possibly adult fiction with the content, imagery, and certain plot points.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait for the sequel!
If this book sounds interesting to you, be sure to also check out Lore by Alexandra Bracken!