Review: A Dark & Hollow Star - Ashley Shuttleworth (ARC)
"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."
TW/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), suicidal ideation, toxic relationship/manipulation, trauma/PTSD, racism, violence/gun violence
Content warnings from the start of the book - love that the author included this at the start of their book! I wish this was in all books, it's so considerate!
I received an E-ARC of A Dark & Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth for free on NetGalley by Hodder & Stoughton in exchange for an honest review! Thank you so much Ashley, Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for this early copy!
I need to start off this review by saying WOW what a book! I've seem it all over Twitter for the last couple of months and knew it would be something I would like, so I was so excited when NetGalley accepted my request. I had a feeling that this book was going to be fantastic and it did not disappoint!
In A Dark & Hollow Star we follow our four protagonists Nausicaa, Arlo, Vehan and Aurelian.
Nausicaa, previously known as Alecto, was one of the Fates until she was demoted from her title and forced to live among the humans for eternity. Displeased with this outcome, she fashioned herself a new life and is determined to cause as much chaos as possible. One of my favourite things about Nausicaa is that she has a hard exterior and pretends she doesn't care about anything but deep down she's really a big softie - especially when it comes to Arlo!
Arlo comes from the Royal Fae family, but as half of her heritage is human her eligibility to remain in the fae world is being called into question. She's stuck between not being magical enough for the Fae world and not human enough for the human world. Not sure of where she belongs and feeling pretty unremarkable, Arlo is about to discover that she is far more special than she first thought.
Vehan is the young crown prince of one of the Fae courts and is hopelessly in love with his friend and bodyguard Aurelian. Although he is naive due to his mother hiding him as much as possible from the world, he is deeply worried about the iron born children and is determined to get to the bottom of what is going on, even if he has to do it alone.
Aurelian is the bodyguard of the prince and not a fan of the Queen. He is tasked with trying to keep Vehan safe but the young prince doesn't make it easy.
A stroke of fate brings all of them together as they investigate the mysterious killings and kidnappings of iron born children around Toronto.
I loved all of these characters so much and the fact that the main couples were f/f and m/m was just amazing!! The group work so well together, plus Arlo & Vehan are sweet cinnamon rolls who can do no wrong and no one change my mind!
Additionally, the worldbuilding throughout this book was absolutely extraordinary! Worldbuilding is one of my favourite elements when it comes to reading especially when it goes into as much rich detail like A Dark and Hollow Star did! I felt fully immersed into the story and I loved the blend between the human world and the fae world, especially all of the supernatural creatures that were also mentioned. The amount of thought that has gone into this book is sensational and you can really feel the love that has been poured into every part of this book!
There were so many great ideas that came together amazingly, I loved every page! A Dark & Hollow Star is an amazing blend of fairytale, mythology and fantasy that everyone should read!
Thank you so much Ashley Shuttleworth, Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for this copy, I enjoyed every minute of it!!