Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an eARC in exchange for an honest review
Overall: 3.5/5 Stars
Plot and Themes: 3.5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 4/5
Review in a Nutshell: I was really excited for These Hollow Vows, and while it didn’t live up to all of my hopes, I still left it eager for the sequel.
// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Mature Content (while this book technically is YA, it feels more Upper-YA/NA), Protagonist Drugged (faerie wine), War Themes, Homophobia (Mention), Kidnapping/Abduction (Mention) //
Release Date: 7/20/2021
Publisher: Clarion Books
Page Count: 464
These Hollow Vows follows Abriella, who is determined to save her sister after the Unseelie King buys her. How can she do it? She must infiltrate the Seelie court, pretending to be a potential bride for the prince, and steal three items from them, for the Unseelie King. Meanwhile, the Unseelie prince has plans of his own, and could use Abriella on his side as well.
These Hollow Vows was pitched as The Cruel Prince meets A Court of Thorns and Roses, but instead, I felt the plot was more like a combination of The Cruel Prince and The Selection.
There is a love triangle, and it does play a major aspect of this book. This is something that can either go very well or very poorly for me. In this case, it’s somewhere in between.
First, we have Sebastian. I honestly couldn’t get behind him as a love interest. And I tried! But his chemistry with Abriella felt lacking and I felt like I was forcing myself to like them together. Then, there’s Finn. He was definitely easier to see as a love interest, but he didn’t get enough time with Abriella to make him compare to Sebastian. If the book wasn’t so heavily focused on this triangle, I wouldn’t mind so much, but it was a big part of the plot and character motivations.
My opinion of this book ranges wildly depending on which part of the book we’re talking about.
The first half of this book felt a little weak. The world building was vague, the plot meandering, and the characters were fairly simple and the relationships were straightforward and not very compelling. I did find the world interesting, but we lacked so much information in the beginning of the novel that it was hard to fully enjoy that aspect. If this first half was the entire book, I would probably have given it 2.5 stars.
But then there’s the second half.
The world building was built upon in good enough ways where not all of my questions were answered, but I felt a lot more grounded in the reality of this book. I do hope it gets even more fleshed out in the sequel.
The characters are explored more, and while the love triangle side of things didn’t hook me, I was interested in some of the side characters, and love the depth added to the characters towards the end. I just wish it was a little earlier.
Admittedly, I did predict a lot of the twists and turns in the plot, but I like being right, so that was just fun for me. And the plot itself definitely felt more purposeful and tense in this second half. I was eager to keep reading, almost glued to my book, and was enjoying the manipulation, betrayal, and overall lack of trust that built to a fun conclusion.
And that conclusion? That’s what gave me so much hope for the sequel. The direction this series seems to be going in looks amazing, and I can’t wait to read more.
If this book was only its second half, it would be 4 stars, easily. Maybe even 4.5.
Pros- great ending, interesting premise, again i cant say enough how much i enjoyed that ending
Cons- not my favorite love triangle, beginning didn’t grab me
Overall- 3.5/5 stars.
In the end, I settled with a 3.5/5 star rating for the book overall. These Hollow Vows had a lot of potential, and only delivered on some of it. However, I’m an optimist, and that third act has me so excited for the sequel.
If You Liked These Hollow Vows, I’d Recommend:
- The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass
- The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black [Review]
- The Caged Queen (Iskari #2) by Kristen Ciccarelli [Review]
What is your favorite book with fae?