Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.
Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.
As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.
The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.
I feel so torn about this one and my feelings towards it are all over the place. On one hand I loved the sisterly bond, family focus and creepy atmosphere. On the other, it just fell really flat. I did expect this one to be different than it ended up being, as it had much more of a fantasy horror focus with a bit of thriller, rather than the other way around. And because of that, I just wasn’t drawn into the story as much as I wanted to be at all. I found the first half of this book quite slow, then it picked up in the middle and lost my interest again at the end.
My favourite part of this book was the lyrical, beautiful writing. It had such creepy, dark undertones but also portrayed the world so well and was heavy on description. It had the perfect feel for the kind of twisted fairytale style this seemed to be going for, and left it a sprawling tale.
Some people go missing because they want to; some go missing because they’re taken.
I did enjoy the sister and family focus, and it made for an interesting backstory. I also didn’t find the plot predictable, and I liked seeing where the story would go. However, it just failed to really grab me. Towards the end of the story, I started wondering if we would really get all of the answers I was craving. And we kind of just…didn’t? Although I didn’t feel completely unsatisfied by the ending, I also didn’t get everything I was looking for.
The characters were so strange, but I definitely felt Iris was the perfect sister to tell this story. I liked the relationship with her mother and how it was explored, and the same goes for the other Hollow sisters and side characters. I just felt a little underwhelmed by scenes that should have been more emotional for me, and I felt there was a lack of connection between me and some of the characters.
And then there are the others—those who go missing because they fall through a gap somewhere and can’t claw their way back.
Although this was a page turner in places and had a great atmosphere, I just didn’t feel as absorbed or thrilled as I wanted to be. I personally feel like this one left a lot to be desired, but I can also see why some people are loving it at the moment! Be warned that this is very gruesome in places and make sure to look up trigger warnings before reading.
3 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽
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