The Hollow #1
By Jessica Verday
hardcover, 544 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Simon Pulse
Categories: Paranormal Romance, Ghosts, Urban Fantasy, Retelling, Mystery, TBR Pile Challenge
Other Books in the Series: The Haunted, The Hidden
Where you can buy it: B&N | Amazon
Author Info: Goodreads | Author's Site
When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. It only makes things worse that everyone now treats Abbey like either a freak show or a charity case. Thank goodness for Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again ... but also special.
Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all of this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her - one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.
My Review Breakdown
Final Score: 11/25 = 3 Cupcakes
My Rating: Mmm ... Yummy!
My initial thoughts: I got this book as a gift for Christmas back in 2009 when it was first released. I love retellings, and I thought that this was going to be a retelling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. It's really not a retelling so much as incorporating the theme and characters from the original story. I believe that Verday does a decent job in making the story her own even with this fact.
Story/Plot: I feel bad giving such a low score, but a majority of the book I have to admit I was kind of wondering where it was going, and what story the author was trying to tell. I'm not saying that the story told is bad, because obviously I did finish the book, and it was engaging at times, but I need more; way more; which is becoming the theme of this review! Keeping important plot points secret to include in additional books in the series is fine, but I think in this case it might hurt the series. It is very slow, and doesn't reveal anything - even for a first book in a series. This might cause some people not to want to continue on with the series, but on the flip side it might make people even more curious to pick up the next book because they like the mystery and secrets surrounding the story.
Characters: In my opinion, Abbey's character is really the most developed; which in a way is expected as she is the MC and all. However; I feel that a lot of the other characters were lost along the way. For example, Abbey's parent's go back and forth from being really busy and never around; to skipping work and taking Abbey bowling. They act really worried about their daughter, and then at times they aren't around for her. So that was confusing to me. I believe that Caspian, Nikolas, and Katy's characters would've been so much stronger had we learned more about them earlier on. I expect that their characters will be built upon more in the second and third books in the series. Also, it was difficult to get a grasp on Kristen. There's no lack of explanation from Abbey of what their friendship was like, and there's no doubt you are mourning with Abbey, but I feel like we don't really know who Kristen was, other than who Abbey believed her to be. When Abbey found out secrets about Kristen it started to open up the possibility that maybe she really isn't the girl that Abbey always believed her to be.
Writing: The first half of the book, I will admit, the writing was rough. Once you hit the halfway point, it almost seems like another person picked up the task of writing, taking us through to the conclusion. So kudos for that! Unfortunately, I found the pace to be painfully slow, and it felt like there were so many scenes included that almost didn't need to be. All of the secrets come out in the last 100 pages or so; so you spend over 400 pages not really learning anything. However; I will say that those 400 pages before the real conclusions begin, there is no doubt that you've been through an emotional crash course; and I do believe that Verday did a wonderful job handling the ridiculous amounts of sorrow and sadness in this novel.
Ending: I like the ending as far as concluding Abbey's character in this book. I don't like; however, that we still really don't know what's been going on with Nikolas, Caspian, and Katy, yet they are a huge part of the book. But, like stated previously, I believe that they will be developed more in the concluding two books.
Cover: I like the cover. It's very haunting and mysterious, just as it is supposed to be. It makes it even more so using all dark, gothic colors which really bring all of the themes of the book together on the cover. I don't know why the model is supposed to appear like she could be almost be naked? That's the only thing I am not sure about. Otherwise I love the incorporation of water, and the necklace, which I believe is supposed to be the one that Abbey receives as a gift.
Final Thoughts: I will pick up the second book in the series, but might get it from the library rather than purchasing. I think Verday has amazing potential and great ideas; however I'm not completely sure that it was truly executed in The Hollow. This isn't to say the book is awful, it is setting up what I believe will be action-packed, secret-spilling sequels.
Read This if you Like: Immortal by Gillian Shields, Meridian by Amber Kizer, Devoured by Amanda Marrone, Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready, and Intrinsical by Lani Woodland