The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher – A Book Review

The Hollow Places


Recently divorced and staring down the barrel of moving back in with her parents, Carrot really needs a break. And a place to live. So when her Uncle Earl, owner of the eclectic Wonder Museum, asks her to stay with him in exchange for cataloguing the exhibits, of course she says yes.

The Wonder Museum is packed with taxidermy, shrunken heads, and an assortment of Mystery Junk. For Carrot, it s not creepy at all: she grew up with it. What s creepy is the hole that s been knocked in one of the museum walls, and the corridor behind it. There s just no space for a corridor in the museum s thin walls or the concrete bunker at the end of it, or the strange islands beyond the bunker s doors, or the whispering, unseen things lurking in the willow trees.

Carrot has stumbled into a strange and horrifying world, and They are watching her. Strewn among the islands are the remains of Their meals and Their experiments. And even if she manages to make it back home again, she can t stop calling Them after her

Author: T. Kingfisher

Publisher: Titan Books

Release Date: 03/11/2020

Pages: 368

Genre: Horror

My Chosen Format: Paperback

My Rating for ‘The Hollow Places’: 5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon UKAmazon US, {As of this writing there was no Audio Book}


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Hollow Places is the second novel of children’s author turned horror writer Ursula Vernon (I say turned, she probably still delights children as well us creepier folk) writing under the pen name of ‘T. Kingfisher’.

The Twisted Ones was a wonderful horror debut, but The Hollow Places takes her skills from that book, tells it to hold her beer, and then just full-on improves on it in ways I wasn’t expecting. 

Much like with The Twisted Ones, the main character is more often referred to by her nickname (in this case ‘Carrot’) instead of her real name. I thought this would annoy me but, in all honesty, you get so sucked into the writing and the incredibly easy to enjoy story that you just don’t even register it. A rose by any other name and all that, I suppose.

Kingfisher does a good job of not making an incredibly horrific, oppressive and bleak atmosphere feel incredibly horrific, oppressive and bleak. She does this by having the main characters joke with each other in the face of sheer awfulness and it just comes across as genuine banter between two good friends rather than some sort of writing trick shoe-horned in to lighten the mood. It’s no easy feat to achieve, as that kind of thing can feel very forced, very quickly. Enough seriousness is threaded through the conversations, the bickering and the inner thoughts of the characters that, again, it just feels genuine and adds to the story being told rather than detracts.

With The Hollow Places, the vivid imagery and the simplicity of the world the characters are transported to just exudes atmosphere. Much like one world bleeds into another in the plot, the atmosphere of the story being told bleeds from the pages into the reader.

The novel is written in first person perspective and, Kingfisher’s free-flowing, fast-paced, enjoyable writing style just makes the whole reading experience and easy, enjoyable and thrilling experience. 

I gave this a five star rating purely because that was the most I could give it. If this were a school project and I were a teacher, I’d rate it 5+ or a 5 with a distinction. I enjoyed it so much that I just feel it deserves a little more than five stars. I also enjoyed it to the extent that, when I got down to the last ten pages I put it down and left it for a day. I just wasn’t ready for it to end. I suppose that’s the mark of a truly good stand alone novel; it makes you wish it weren’t a stand alone.

I’ll certainly be keeping my eye on anything and everything T. Kingfisher puts out in the horror genre going forward. 

I know Halloween is behind us now, but if you are still in the mood for a creepy adrenaline ride, get yourself a copy of The Hollow Places. You won’t regret it.

5 thoughts on “The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher – A Book Review

  1. “tells it to hold her beer”….haha, that was brilliant! 😂😂
    Well, no real surprise that I absolutely loved the sound of this one! This is totally my kind of book, especially the atmosphere that you are describing here!😀
    (I have given up hope of ever bringing my to read list down to an acceptable number!😂😂😂😂)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The mix of humor and grave seriousness in this story is one of the main reasons I’m very intrigued by this book: it’s not an easy blend to carry forward and in this case the author seems to have done so with great success, which makes it imperative for me to read it 😉
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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