The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones in this thrilling urban fantasy set in the magical underworld of Toronto that follows a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes could expose the hidden world of faeries to humans.
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.
I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 4 Stars
City of Bones meets The Cruel Prince with a queer cast of characters – that is a hell of a tagline! Definitely one that immediately sucked me in. I’ve been burned by a good tagline before, though, so naturally I went in pretty wary. Let me just start by saying that A Dark and Hollow Star definitely delivered on the City of Bones comparison and the cast of queer characters. There are gay, lesbian, non-binary and bisexual characters in this book and they aren’t side characters. I LOVED the diversity in this book and can’t wait to see where the various romantic entanglements go in future novels. As I said, the City of Bones comparison is also pretty spot on. The urban fantasy setting, multiple POVs, variety of magical creatures, investigation centered plot, and utter lack of caring or responsibility by most of the adults in the book all work together to hook any good Shadowhunters fan.
I thoroughly enjoyed the way that Ashely Shuttleworth tied our current world into that of the Fae she created. The Fae folklore we as readers are familiar with in YA was turned on its head a bit, but in a really fun way. Instead of living in mysterious forests, modern Fae in A Dark and Hollow Star hold court in major cities and have mingled their lives pretty well with the lives of humans. Hell, our half human protagonist even works at Starbucks. It is because of this that I don’t completely agree with the comparison to The Cruel Prince. The Fae in this book are definitely capricious (as are almost all Fae) but seem to be much more humanized and less cruel than Fae in other series I’ve read. This obviously doesn’t stand true for all of the Fae characters in this world, but every species has some bad apples, right?
The overall pacing of the book was pretty solid and I definitely never felt bored. I also found myself equally enjoying all of the POVs, which is a rarity for me in a book with this many POV characters. Not only did we get chapters from the four main characters, we actually got some of the villain’s POV, which I definitely enjoyed. Usually in a book narrated by multiple characters, I find myself looking forward to one more than the others which can slow down the pacing of the book for me. That wasn’t the case here at all, and I definitely found myself equally engrossed in all character plots.
There were bits of the book that felt a touch disjointed, as though the reader had missed a scene. The main characters would discuss a meeting they had, but the reader didn’t get to see the actual meeting. I’m not sure if these scenes were taken out of the book in editing to shorten it, or if the book was initially written this way, but it did leave me feeling as though I was playing catch up a couple of times. Additionally, though I did enjoy this read, it was easy for me to put down. Those of you who are familiar with my reviews know that if a book is easy for me to put down and not read for a day, I can’t rate it five stars. That being said, I do think there is potential in this series for the sequels to be five star reads. This was an incredible debut from an author that I look forward to following in years to come.
I do also want to note that though there isn’t mature sexual content, there is profanity which, when combined with the age of the characters, made this read a bit more NA than YA for me personally.