Firstly, the novel is written in that damn-fangled new style called New Adult. I don't know what kids today think of such a thing, but I thoroughly enjoyed diving into a genre which features a new type of main character (i.e. a normal, independent teen with bills and jobs and vampire-fighting kittens). I also loved the fact that although this is a vampire story, there wasn't a trace of stereotypical vampirism. It was refreshing to see that characterization was more important, and that what the book lacked in fangs, it made up for in personalities and back-stories. I'd like to have seen some extra dimensions in a couple of members of the supporting cast but they were still thoroughly likeable in their simple way, and the entire novel was already rich and detailed enough as it was.
The plot in particular worked very well, especially from a writer's point of view. It was great to see the addition of layers and the continual increase in conflict and tension, as well as real examples of how to leave clues and build enough suspense to pull off a satisfying ending. I did guess one of the subplots, but there were so many twists throughout the storyline that I could never have been fully certain I was right. And what made me even happier than bingo night at a knitting club tea-party, is that I’ve rarely read books which ended with such a thorough sense of closure.
The world-building was also solid without bogging the reader down with too much description, and I really enjoyed the variety of settings - particularly the fascinating Old Town, which I'd love to visit. On top of that the editing was tight, thorough, and never once left me feeling like I was being told instead of shown or getting buried in an information dump. Kelley has great voice in her writing, whether that's through setting a scene or painting a character into life, and the entire novel reads like one of a real veteran in her craft. I've had my eye on another of Kelley's books for a long time now, so I was thrilled to receive my very own Hollowed ARC for review. And with my own personal score of eight out of ten, it turned out better than a pair of slippers and an early night.
Next week I'll be hosting Kelley, right here, for the final day of her Hollowed blog tour. I've got a mystery contest lined up, including a top secret video where we talk self-publishing, writing and book promotions, and more about New Adult. So hang on to your dentures, folks, because there'll be books and critiques and goodies galore to give away.
Update: Dodgy Spies With An Awesome Prize is now running, so sneak on over and check it out!