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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 bou 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.


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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 bou 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.

30 review for A Dark and Hollow Star

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lia Carstairs

    Oh my god THIS WAS DUCKING AMAZING. Arlo, Nos, Vehan, Aurelian . . . I'm so ducking in love with them it's not even funny🥺😭 Now the real question is: When's 2022? also plz kill a certain individual who starts with an 'R' Because I really, really, really need the next book right now. This is 100% definitely better than both The Cruel Prince and City of Bones in my opinion. I don't mean to hype this book too much because the hype can sometimes kill a book BUT SERIOUSLY I LOVE THIS SO MUCH Oh my god THIS WAS DUCKING AMAZING. Arlo, Nos, Vehan, Aurelian . . . I'm so ducking in love with them it's not even funny🥺😭 Now the real question is: When's 2022? also plz kill a certain individual who starts with an 'R' Because I really, really, really need the next book right now. This is 100% definitely better than both The Cruel Prince and City of Bones in my opinion. I don't mean to hype this book too much because the hype can sometimes kill a book BUT SERIOUSLY I LOVE THIS SO MUCH I WOULD DIE FOR THESE GUYS😭 which I definitely was not expecting going into this. Thank you Ashley for making me feel like this. Now—if any of them are killed, I will be left destroyed.😃 im terrified In this world, Fae and faeries also live in the human world, while of course, not allowing the humans to discover that magical creatures do in fact exist. (glamour is truly amazing😌) While the Seelie Court's base is in Nevada—run by their *only* Queen Riadne, the Unseelie Court are the ones who have true power, living in good ol' Toronto, with their High King Azurean. The way Ashley created this world . . . it leaves me in awe🥺. I love most how this takes place in modern day with Fae heyy that rhymed AND IN TORONTOOOO😭 (and Nevada) All those mentions made me so happy. I actually knew exactly how the scenes looked like whenever they took place ahhhh the feeling is so nice. I'm so very much in love with everything in this book, but mostly (as I've probably mentioned a million times by now) with THE CHARACTERS- ☆。*。☆。 "What if I don't want to be a hero?" From the moment I met Arlo Jarsdel, I fell in love with her. But from the moment I found out that she was a manga/anime fan— I knew right then and there, I'd lay down my life for this girl. it sounds ridiculous BUT SHE LOVES ANIME SO IDC I love her and I will not never stop saying how much I love her because this girl is amazing and deserves the world and the respect that some of these idiots cant give.👿 They're all just JEALOUS they cant be an ironborn half-fae, half-human haha suckersss. Anyways, Arlo is definitely the quiet and reserved type around others, but with those she loves (like my sweet Celadon & Arlo) . . . let's just say that she's very fierce and annoyingly persistent when she wants something.😏 "One hundred and sixteen years ago, eleven people learned the answer to that question, Vehan Lysterne. Nausicaä Kraken (aka Nos)—the chaotic and very sarcastic lesbian that loves to wreak havoc. Literally from page 3 when she told the others off while facing her trial . . . to say that I started to worship this girl is definitely an understatement. Muahahhaha I love a girl who says exactly what's on their mind without a care in the world. And she definitely hates socializing like every introvert . . . except with maybe Arlo of course hehe. The way she tries to make people think less of her🥺 no no no Nos is not fooling anyone behind this act, especially not Arlo . All that hurt is too much for one to carry alone and I can't wait to see that healing in the next book😭 (gorgeous art by @viria94) "It eats at me, because feeling that? That soul-crushing hopelessness that drowns everything else inside you and tells you you're totally and completely alone, that you're nothing but a tool, a means to an end, a burden, and no one will really miss you when you're gone? I know exactly what that's like." ohmygod TELL ME THAT DOESN'T WANT TO MAKE YOU CRY???😭 VEHAN, MY PRECIOUS BISEXUAL CINNAMON ROLL, WHO MUST BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS, especially from certain MONSTERS. I want to MURDER the person who made him feel that way and I know EXACTLY who I should be targeting.👿 Aghh you see what I mean? How can I choose a favourite when they all make me feel like this?!?! I demand that Ashley be sued for the too many feels.🥺 Vehan is too precious and as the prince of Seelie, all he wants to do is protect others and be a future king everyone can rely on. He loves too much . . . especially a certain dark haired, golden eyed person. I am very very sad and especially after that ending, I fear for my life because what's going to happen omgggg that ducking shouldn't happen. Over my dead body . I want to cry :( wow do i sound crazy And lastly there's Aurelian Bessel—everyone's brooding and dramatic gay druid boy who pretends to not care at all about *ahem* a blue-eyed someone. Oh Aurelian, you're not fooling anyone, except maybe that person.😥 This guy . . . he acts all grump and uncaring, but to find out the truth about the why behind it and know it's because of that MONSTER... I'm not being dramatic when I say that DEATH MUST COME FOR THAT MONSTER next book OR ELSE— Now I love those 4, but I have to say that Celadon Viridian was my favouritee💕 I wish he was a main character too because I'm so hopelessly in love with him. He is the sweetest and most caring cousin to Arlo. I really hope Ashley isn't planning his death or anything . . . because I will be destroyed beyond repair😓 Also, is it weird to say that I actually just adore one of the villains. (at least I'm pretty sure he's a villain?) His plans are a little unclear and he's protecting Arlo sooooo *confusion* If he's evil and all, well I still love him because he's definitely a really cool villain😏 uh oh pretty soon im gonna be rooting for him too smh "There's a reason why the Lord of Death himself went out of his way to restrain me." yup, there's definitely something wrong with me As you can see, I'm very much in love with practically all the characters in this book (except for that retched monster ofc). The only reason this didn't get 5 stars was bc it was slow at times BUT STILL I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. Ahhh the one regret I have is reading this now, because now I have to wait until 2022 for the next book *cries* Bottom line: Once you read this, there's no going back >:) (4.5⭐) ═══*.·:·.☽✧ ✦ ✧☾.·:·.*═══ Eternally grateful to Simon & Schuster Canada for bestowing upon me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All quotes in this review are subject to change upon release date.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Juliana (Midnight Book Blog)

    If I haven’t convinced you to go out and buy 10 copies of this book by the end of my review, I haven’t done it justice. Plot: Ok, let’s be honest, there are TONS of book about the Faerie being written as of late, but I promise none can compare to this one. There is a perfect mix of Fae/modern world, tons of different mythology, and great LGBTQ+ representation. Characters: Arlo was just about the most relatable person ever. She was unsure of herself, her powers, and her standing in the world. Naus If I haven’t convinced you to go out and buy 10 copies of this book by the end of my review, I haven’t done it justice. Plot: Ok, let’s be honest, there are TONS of book about the Faerie being written as of late, but I promise none can compare to this one. There is a perfect mix of Fae/modern world, tons of different mythology, and great LGBTQ+ representation. Characters: Arlo was just about the most relatable person ever. She was unsure of herself, her powers, and her standing in the world. Nausicaä. WOW. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be her, or was in love with her (I was definitely in love with her). And I’m really curious to see where their relationship goes! I feel like Vehan and Aurelian weren’t the main focus of the story, but their perspectives did add important information for the plot. Overall: I know this was a gushy review, but guys, I am not easy to impress. I loved the mixture of mythology. The story itself was brilliant. So many pieces were woven together, it didn’t feel like a standard YA fantasy at all. It was more like having an entire series packed into one book, but in the absolute best way possible Content warnings: murder, suicide, depression (the book contains a full list, but these are the things I thought were heaviest) 1/23: OMG guess who got their first physical ARC?? I am very much fangirling right now

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Shuttleworth

    edit 06/20: I'm very excited for the world to meet Arlo, Nos, Vehan, and Aurelian, my chaotic children who've come to mean so much to me, just like this story, which is very long and very busy (thank you final Fantasy) and at times was very painful to write, but I’m fiercely proud of what it levelled up to become. I hope you’ll enjoy it. Also, I get asked fairly often what sort of queer rep is in this, so for your curiosity: Arlo—questioning (later to be confirmed pansexual) Nausicaä—lesbian Vehan— edit 06/20: I'm very excited for the world to meet Arlo, Nos, Vehan, and Aurelian, my chaotic children who've come to mean so much to me, just like this story, which is very long and very busy (thank you final Fantasy) and at times was very painful to write, but I’m fiercely proud of what it levelled up to become. I hope you’ll enjoy it. Also, I get asked fairly often what sort of queer rep is in this, so for your curiosity: Arlo—questioning (later to be confirmed pansexual) Nausicaä—lesbian Vehan—bisexual Aurelian—gay Luck—genderfluid Please be advised of the trigger/content warnings for this story, which will be included in the book. These subjects are all things I’ve tried to handle with care and sensitivity. It's important to talk about uncomfortable issues, especially with our youth, but that discussion should be something you consent to engaging with first and foremost. 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), suicide ideation, toxic relationship/manipulation, trauma/PTSD, racism, violence/gun violence

  4. 4 out of 5

    katie

    feb 23, 2021 - happy book birthday to this book!!! now, for my late review. I don't particularly love fae. After the experiences I've had with reading about them in the past, I wasn't sure I wanted to pick up a book with fae again in the distant future. But then I heard about this one. Which sounded more dark, more angsty, and (way) more queer than two particular fae series.* AND IT WAS. it was also so much better, if i may add 😏 *you know what I'm referring to. A Dark and Hollow Star follows four feb 23, 2021 - happy book birthday to this book!!! now, for my late review. I don't particularly love fae. After the experiences I've had with reading about them in the past, I wasn't sure I wanted to pick up a book with fae again in the distant future. But then I heard about this one. Which sounded more dark, more angsty, and (way) more queer than two particular fae series.* AND IT WAS. it was also so much better, if i may add 😏 *you know what I'm referring to. A Dark and Hollow Star follows four queer teens as their paths cross and worlds collide (quite literally). It contains faerie cafes, family dynamics, and cinnamon rolls that must be protected at all costs (so smol and so precious)* *dang it there's no cinnamon roll emoji. love that for me. Forget that you loved me, if you must, but please . . . do not forget you loved at all, and do not forget you loved so fiercely it made you the best of your name. This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and I'm excited to say that I was not disappointed in the least. So. There's: Arlo, the Soft™ half-fae outcast who's very awkward and unsure of herself. She also loves anime and works in coffee shop!! Nausicaä, a sarcastic lesbian and a bad girl in black who swings around a katana. AND she's also a banished Fury who's out for revenge, to make things more interesting (my personal favorite of the four 🥺). Vehan, a bisexual blue-eyed fae prince who's bent on proving his worth to the throne (and may or may not have a gigantic crush on his bodyguard). Aurelian, protector and childhood friend of Prince Vehan, hider of secrets, a not-so-talkative gay. All four of these characters are so flawed, but these imperfections are what truly reflect them, and I really loved that. This is unrelated but this fanart!!! WHO CAN RESIST THEM. art by @viria94 Magic had its rules, and woe betide anyone who tried to sidestep them. The writing. It was simply divine and so atmospheric that I wanted to lose myself in it. The story is written in such a vivid way, blending the worlds of faerie and reality seamlessly. On another note, Jenny's review came to my attention, and I had to think on my opinions again. Every single character in this book is white or white-coded, but like Jenny said, Toronto is full of people of different cultures and identities. Please see her review to learn more on this aspect! Overall, ADHS was a solid debut that I enjoyed! And although it didn't end on a painful cliffhanger, I'll definitely be watching out for the second book in the series!!* *ughh slkdfjlskdj i have to wait until 2022 :') also who am i kidding it ended on a (somewhat) huge cliffhanger other things i loved: - discussions about mental illness that didn't feel forced (!!!!!) - casual queer rep (which we desperately need more of) - vehan & aurelian, who are soft and sad (and quietly yearning for each other) - arlo & nausicaä (my serotonin levels went 📈📈 every time they interacted aka i needed to go touch some grass) - celadon, arlo's very supportive cousin; i literally loved him so much <3 ---------------------- feb 13, 2021 - just finished. in shock. all i can say is: be prepared. rtc!!! ---------------------- AHHH I GOT APPROVED FROM THE PUBLISHER FOR A PHYSICAL ARC OF THIS AHHHHH ALAKJASLKD

  5. 5 out of 5

    jenny✨

    No one is more shocked than me at how disappointed I am with my most anticipated read of 2021. I’m heartbroken. But I am also allowing myself the space to be ambivalent about a book. I mean, I can’t even begin to describe my euphoria when I first heard the premise of A Dark and Hollow Star. (Though if you want some idea, please scroll to the bottom of my review and take a gander at my yelling and spluttering!) “Queer ownvoices urban fantasy set in Toronto with serial killers” felt like someone had No one is more shocked than me at how disappointed I am with my most anticipated read of 2021. I’m heartbroken. But I am also allowing myself the space to be ambivalent about a book. I mean, I can’t even begin to describe my euphoria when I first heard the premise of A Dark and Hollow Star. (Though if you want some idea, please scroll to the bottom of my review and take a gander at my yelling and spluttering!) “Queer ownvoices urban fantasy set in Toronto with serial killers” felt like someone had reached into my bookish soul and made every last one of my wishes into reality. It was surreal. I was rooting for this book with my whole heart. Which made my dismay all the more profound. But before we get into why, here’s what I want you to know off the bat. I feel SO strongly—so passionately—about speculative fiction set in Toronto, and Canada more broadly. We are a city, land, and many cultures and communities that deserve representation (beyond the white eurocentric norm). We are rife with magnetizing stories and settings. As Ashley Shuttleworth writes: Toronto had become an epicenter of the magical community. Creatures of all walks of life had been drawn into its folds… Moreover, I feel just as—if not even more—strongly about publishing and reading ownvoices queer stories. It is SO IMPORTANT that we read and support queer authors, and queer spec-fic holds an infinitely soft space in my heart. For these reasons, I think you should read A Dark and Hollow Star. The queer rep was fucking fantastic. As Ashley Shuttleworth says in their review, the four leads are all LGBTQIA+. Arlo, the half-fae/half-human ironborn girl, is questioning and later confirmed to be pansexual. Nausicaä is lesbian, a centuries-old former-immortal who has been banished to the mortal realm, where she’s been stirring up trouble. Aurelian is gay and a member of the Seelie Summer court; he keeps watch over kind-hearted Vehan, who is bisexual and sweet as heck. And if that hasn’t convinced you, then I have two words for you: Sapphic. Faeries. 🧚🏻‍♀️ Thank you to the author, NetGalley, and Simon & Schuster Canada for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. I am immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to read my most anticipated 2021 release as an advance copy. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ The primary reason I felt so let down by this book is its lack of diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural rep. How to tell a story of Toronto without grappling with its history of colonialism and diasporic migration? How to write Toronto without including the Black folk, Indigenous peoples, and people of colour at this city’s heart? I'm not sure. I don't think the story would be complete. What makes Toronto such a fucking magical city in real life is its incredible, intersectional diversity—of people, cultures, communities, identities. Toronto’s one of the most multicultural cities in the entire world. It is a space that is defined by the interweaving of peoples, a place that resonated so deeply with me for its expansiveness. And queer BIPOC have long been at the heart of Toronto's queer community and activism. This is true in spite of their historic lack of visibility and representation in mainstream discourse. For example, Dr. Beverly Bain, a Black queer scholar, speaks about how Black queer folk shaped Pride in Toronto by standing at the forefront of grassroots movements in the 80s, when Toronto police cracked down on the gay community via bathhouse raids. Meanwhile, Richard Fung and Gay Asians of Toronto were one of the first organizations to advocate for queer POC in Toronto, and their efforts as "pioneers of diversity" are integral to Toronto's queer history. Mind you, I’m not saying Toronto is a perfect space—far from it. Canada has major issues, like all settler states, with systemic injustice and discrimination against BIPOC, queer folk, and other marginalized communities. But I am saying that the pockets of happiness, resilience, and resistance that I found in Toronto changed my life. In this city, I learned that I didn’t have to conform myself to an ill-fitting—no, painful—white and heternormative default. It was a momentous revelation for me. And this book didn't capture that diversity, that richness, for me. Not all of it, at least. Despite the fantastic queer rep, there was no diversity in the ethnicities or cultures represented in A Dark and Hollow Star. There was no acknowledgement of the Indigenous lands on which Toronto was constructed, no recognition of the Indigenous peoples and cultures who are the rich, inextricable foundation and fabric of this city. From what I could tell (and PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong), all of the major characters in A Dark and Hollow Star were white or white-coded. The protagonists were all fae of European (mainly English and German) descent. There’s one scene where the book describes how the fae and their Courts moved from England and “settled [in Canada] a little over a century ago.” I know this must've been unintentional, but it just sounded so eerily colonial. And if some minor characters were described as having darker skin or ethnic-sounding names, this was ultimately arbitrary. Because there was no meaningful incorporation of non-European cultures into the world-building and magic systems in this novel. There was no discussion of Middle Eastern, African, South Asian, East Asian, Latin American epistemologies, to name but a few, even though the majority of Toronto’s population (51.5% in 2016) belongs to a visible minority group. In fact, just under half of all Torontonians are immigrants. This book did not reflect that. And I felt profound grief at the loss of this opportunity to represent, celebrate, and champion Toronto’s intersectional diversity in a hyped-up mainstream YA novel. But at the same time, I think this just further highlights the need for more YA fiction, speculative fiction, queer fiction—more stories, period—set in Toronto. In the course of writing and reflecting on this review, I've come to realize that, despite what I've written above, there is no "complete" or "true" story of Toronto. The responsibility of representing this incredibly multifaceted city should not solely be on the shoulders of Ashley Shuttleworth or A Dark and Hollow Star (or any other single author or novel). We should be allowed the space for stories like A Dark and Hollow Star—as well as stories that feature characters of diverse ethnicities, races, and cultures. 🧚🏻‍♀️ TLDR; While I am disappointed by the lack of diverse racial/ethnic rep in this novel, I don't mean for this to be a scathing criticism of A Dark and Hollow Star. Rather, I write this as a call for publishers like Simon & Schuster Canada to publish more queer and Torontonian stories—to afford queer Torontonians the array of literature and representation that is deserved. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ Besides the lack of racial/cultural diversity, my other gripes with this book have to do with the actual prose and storytelling. ➟ Confusing, convoluted worldbuilding. There were WAY too many info-dumps in this novel. And the irony was that even with all this explicit explanation, I still couldn’t grasp the magic system at the centre. This was partly because the world-building was neither intuitive nor presented in an easy-to-comprehend manner. For example, "fae" and "faerie" refer to two different types of supernatural beings in this novel (the former resemble humans, while the latter have animal/plant-like characteristics). In all of the fae-related novels I've read so far, the two terms have been used interchangeably, so it was hard to get my head around the idea that in A Dark and Hollow Star they were now two separate entities. Also, the lore of A Dark and Hollow Star is an erratic mish-mash of legends from disparate (European) cultures. Greek gods, Titans, Furies, faerie (Seelie, UnSeelie, lesidhe, sidhe), trolls, vampires, something called the Wild Hunt—and a Chinese dragon thrown in for good measure…? None of it made sense to me. ➟ Overused YA fantasy tropes and clichés. This echoes some of the issues I had with Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn. A Dark and Hollow Star relies heavily on YA fantasy clichés, including Capitalization of Everything to Do With World-building (including Maturity, Matured, the Weighing, Sight, Gift, Destroyed, Tracker… the list goes on). There's a dash of the Chosen One trope with Arlo, and an overuse of italics that made the text feel more melodramatic than anything. ➟ Prose doesn’t flow very well for me personally. The tone of the writing in this novel didn’t really fit the urban fantasy setting imo. It reads with the cadence and diction of high fantasy (awkwardly formal constructions of phrase etc.) when this is urban fantasy. As a result, the prose came off a little stuffy when I would’ve rather it flowed more smoothly like contemporary speech. I also found the banter/dialogue weirdly juvenile. For example, when Nausicäa says things like “What the shit” and “W-T-Fuck” and “Miss Sassypants,” it felt to me like she had the maturity of a preteen human and not a 300-year-old immortal being. ✨ BOTTOM LINE: To my disappointment, this book didn't capture Toronto—or its diversity of cultures and peoples—like I'd been expecting. NONETHELESS, I still think it’s extremely important to read and support queer ownvoices stories, and A Dark and Hollow Star will surely be a trailblazer for queer spec-fic to come. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ 06/29/2020: Y'ALL. MY JAW LITERALLY DROPPED. IT'S LIKE ASHLEY SHUTTLEWORTH TOOK ALL THE THINGS I LOVED AND MASHED THEM INTO THE STORY I'VE NEEDED ALL MY LIFE Cruel Prince? CHECK. ✅ City of Bones? CHECK. ✅ Set in the 6ix? CHECK. ✅ Serial killer creepiness? CHECK. ✅ Queer author + cast? BOOYAH, CHECK. ✅ I am SO hyped for this I'm shaking

  6. 4 out of 5

    theresa

    This book is the start of something special. I knew this from the very first page and the feeling never once faded across 500 pages of action, banter, magic and pining. Following four queer teens caught up in a series of brutal, ritualistic murders and forced to work together to solve them, A Dark and Hollow Star brings a startling humanity to the ancient faerie courts and breathes new life into the YA urban fantasy genre. Why is it always so difficult to review a book you loved? I wish I could l This book is the start of something special. I knew this from the very first page and the feeling never once faded across 500 pages of action, banter, magic and pining. Following four queer teens caught up in a series of brutal, ritualistic murders and forced to work together to solve them, A Dark and Hollow Star brings a startling humanity to the ancient faerie courts and breathes new life into the YA urban fantasy genre. Why is it always so difficult to review a book you loved? I wish I could leave this review as ‘Absolutely incredible, can’t wait to see where this series goes, loved everything about it. Also, I’ve completely fallen in love with Nausicaä Kraken and am the proud founder of the simping-for-nausicaä club hmu if you want in.’ But apparently that’s not ‘professional’ or even really a ‘review’ so allow me to attempt to write something more coherent. I loved so many things about this book: the plot and mystery, the worldbuilding, the writing, the casual LGBTQ+ and mental illness rep, the characters and their relationships with each other – whether romantic, platonic, familial or barely able to stand each other but forced to form an alliance to save the world. Everything about this book felt like it was written just for me, combining some of the elements I love most into one gorgeous book (both inside and out). The worldbuilding was a particular strong point and I can’t wait to explore more of this world in the sequel. The combination of a vibrant modern Toronto setting and all the technology and pop culture of the 21st century with ancient fairy tales and legend created a rich urban fantasy setting. I really enjoyed this interpretation of how the courts of fae could function in our world while still retaining their wildness and magic. The world is expertly fleshed out and developed and I found learning about the different creatures and peoples of faerie, the Seelie and Unseelie courts, the deities and the magic system all really interesting. Ashley Shuttleworth’s writing was spectacular, both in its ability to gently ease you into this world, giving information where necessary but not overwhelming, and in the authentic dialogue, humour and feelings of the characters. I thought the action scenes were written really well and the tension throughout left me unable to put the book down. The multiple perspectives worked really well with the story and I loved how the different dynamics and pieces of the mystery were explored through them. I also found reading from the antagonist’s perspective really interesting and thought it had the perfect balance of creating understanding of their motivation and even sympathy for them, while also establishing them as the enemy. The main mystery of the murders came together really effectively which created a satisfying conclusion, even as other plotlines opened up and left me desperate for more. In terms of characters, I loved all four of our main perspectives and really enjoyed reading from them all. I particularly loved Arlo and Nausicaä, who we spent slightly more time with, as I felt I got a chance to know them better but I hope to be able to say the same for Vehan and Aurelian as the series progresses. The character dynamics were so much fun and definitely my favourite part of the story. I loved the banter between them all, as they went from reluctant allies to friends, as well as the blossoming relationships – particularly between Nausicaä and Arlo, who had the sweetest dynamic, even if they started out with a murder accusation. And just because I love them so much, here’s a wee bit about each of their characters: ‘“What if I don’t want to be a hero?”’ Arlo Jarsdel is an ironborn: part human, part fae and not particularly blessed in the magic department. She’s gentle and sweet and quite content with a regular – or as regular as possible when you’re part fae and best friends / cousins with a prince – life, she’s loveably naïve and awkward at times and struggles with feeling useless in a society where magical ability is everything. I adored her character right from the start and found her easy to root for and relate to and loved seeing her character grow and develop during the book as she realised her worth. “Nausicaä was still gorgeous without her glamour, but the nine rings of hell couldn’t come up with anything more terrible than the way her grin split across her face like razor wire catching skin and tearing it apart.” Nausicaä Kraken (what a name!) was once a terrifying, powerful fury, before her powers were stripped and she was banished to the mortal world. She’s the grumpy to Arlo’s sunshine, the tall to her small, the sword-weilding lesbian of my dreams and determined to wreak havoc. She’s simultaneously the sarcastic, badass, leather-clad typical YA love interest (finally I understand the appeal!) and a lonely young woman struggling with grief and depression who would do anything for those she loves. She’s the type to nickname her friends (and, well, everyone – whether they like it or not), drink unicorn frappuccinos and know all of Arlo’s nerdy references (and even make some of her own). Just look at her on the cover and tell me you’re not already a little in love! Also, enjoy this meme I made for her, I think it pretty accurately sums up both her character and my love for her: As much as I loved this book, I want to bring attention to the lack of racial diversity by linking this review. Toronto is such a diverse, multi-cultural city and unfortunately A Dark and Hollow Star didn’t fully capture this. This is my main criticism of the book and something I’d love to see improved, especially as the LGBTQ+ and mental health representation were so well done: the four main characters were all queer, there were queer and trans side characters, including one who uses neo pronouns and these identities were never a point of conflict. I also particularly admired Nausicaä being open about having depression and going to therapy. As I’m sure you can tell from this review, I adored A Dark and Hollow Star. This was a fresh and unique take on YA urban fantasy and faerie stories with queer characters at its forefront. A fun and gritty story, packed full of action and authentic characters, A Dark and Hollow Star has become a new favourite and reminded me why I love fantasy. I can’t wait to see where the story takes us next! (The things I would do to get my hands on the sequel…). And honestly, you need to read this if only to understand why the title makes me feral – it’s so gay guys, so fucking gay. If you fancy some more memes and reactions to this book, check out my reading thread! I also talk about books here: youtube | instagram | twitter *finished copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cece ❀Rants, Raves &Reviews❀

    This book has quickly moved onto my To Read list and now looks to be the highlight of 2021 *thank god cuz we all need something to look forward to* But hear me out.... Not only does the book offer an intriguing plot full of fantastical creatures, fey, and murder which is the ultimate book combo But it also *seems* to offer genuine representation and not tOkeNiZaTiOn which yall know vexes me to no end. The cover looks gorgeous. The plot is intriguing. Featuring LGBTQ+ main characters who fully d This book has quickly moved onto my To Read list and now looks to be the highlight of 2021 *thank god cuz we all need something to look forward to* But hear me out.... Not only does the book offer an intriguing plot full of fantastical creatures, fey, and murder which is the ultimate book combo But it also *seems* to offer genuine representation and not tOkeNiZaTiOn which yall know vexes me to no end. The cover looks gorgeous. The plot is intriguing. Featuring LGBTQ+ main characters who fully developed with their own goals, adventures, and identities I genuinely hope that the book community uses this book to promote much-needed conversations, and honestly... I just can't bloody wait for the gorgeous fan art I KNOW is going to come out *pun intended*

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lucie V.

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley (thank you Simon & Schuster Canada). All thoughts and opinions are my own. 3.5 stars A sidhe prince, a lesidhe guard, an ironborn girl, and a former Fury – they seemed less like a serious investigative team and more like the lead-in to some terrible joke. This story revolves around 4 main characters: “You mistake my meaning,” Alecto drawled. “I freely admit to all crimes you accuse me of. I did it, yes. I simply don’t feel guilty abo I received a copy of this book from NetGalley (thank you Simon & Schuster Canada). All thoughts and opinions are my own. 3.5 stars A sidhe prince, a lesidhe guard, an ironborn girl, and a former Fury – they seemed less like a serious investigative team and more like the lead-in to some terrible joke. This story revolves around 4 main characters: “You mistake my meaning,” Alecto drawled. “I freely admit to all crimes you accuse me of. I did it, yes. I simply don’t feel guilty about any of it.” Alecto is one of the three Furies tasked with upholding the Three Principle of Magic. She is the daughter of Urielle, Goddess of the Elements and Lady of Chaos, and was condemned to live forever among the mortals, after exacting revenge for her sister’s murder and killing 11 mortals. She had to assume a new identity and had been known as Nausicaä Kraken for the last 116 years, or, as some like to call her, the Dark Star. She has been a plague to the magical community. She is fierce, blunt, confident, sassy, and I really like her. "What if I don't want to be a hero?" She couldn’t help them. She wasn’t special, wasn’t brave. Arlo was just a girl with fancy connections and no real magic of her own, regardless of what Nausicaä thought she knew about her. She was no hero, no chosen savior, nobody but Arlo Jarsdel, ironborn human. Arlo Jarsdel is an ironborn (half-human) teenager in the pure-blood fae royal family. Not deemed fae enough by the elitist High Council because of her weak magical abilities and her “impure” blood, she lives as an outcast, her only real friend being her cousin, High Prince Celadon (who I wished was one of the main characters because I really like him, he’s the best). She is an introvert, not believing that she is anything special, but she is fierce when comes the time to defend the ones she cares about. She is not the most original YA character, but I still enjoyed her chapters. "It eats at me, because feeling that? That soul-crushing hopelessness that drowns everything else inside you and tells you you're totally and completely alone, that you're nothing but a tool, a means to an end, a burden, and no one will really miss you when you're gone? I know exactly what that's like." Vehan is the prince of the Summer court, he is sweet, valiant, and noble, but he loves too much and too deeply for a Fae prince. He spends almost all his time with his steward and childhood best friend, Aurelian (aka, Mr. I-pretend-I-don’t-care-but-I-do-care-way-too-much). Together, they are trying to investigate the series of ironborn murders that have been happening lately. Their path will cross Nausicaä’s and Arlo’s, and it will be up to them to figure out what is happening because the High King of the fae keeps on insisting that the culprit is a human serial killer, that there is nothing he can do, that there is no need for the magical community to investigate. The dynamic between the 4 main characters is a good mix of wariness, friendship, sarcasm, and even love. They are trying to trust each other and help each other even though they just met for some of them. They go from strangers to a unit built on shaky trust, but they still have each other’s back. Each character is vulnerable, and insecure, even though they try to hide it, and it makes them so much more relatable. They are doubting their worth and their feelings, wondering what awaits them in the future and what there are destined to become. This self-doubt is so human and so real (especially considering that they are teenagers), it made me appreciate this little band of misfits more than I thought I would. “No, no, no – we’re not on the same team,” Nausicaä interrupted. “I’m no hero! Just because I’m not running around turning kids to stone doesn’t mean I’m a fine upstanding citizen like Red and Prince Charmless here, and… I don’t know, what fairy-tale character do you want to be, Aurelian?” Aurelian cut her a deadly glare. “And fucking Grumpy.” The murders are part of a complex scheme that is revealed one tiny step at a time. There is still a lot of intrigues left to be discovered and resolved in the next book. I would have liked it if the characters got together earlier, the first half of the book is a little slow, with lots of details that are not always useful in the story. I will most probably read the next book when it comes out, but since this book does not end with a cliffhanger, I am not in a hurry to read it. On a side note, I also really liked how the Seelie and Unseelie courts are determined by our geographic frontiers. The Canadian territory belongs to a court, western Europe to another court, and so on, and the fae and fairies live among the humans using glamours. The pop-culture references (Harry Potter, Lord of the Ring, Pokemon, Super Mario, etc.) are also very funny and help us connect even more with the characters and the story.

  9. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    Queer kids and fae, that’s all I need in life tbh edited june 2020: and now we have a cover and it is EVERYTHING?!?!?! Oh my gods Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review!

  10. 4 out of 5

    anna (½ of readsrainbow)

    rep: lesbian mc with depression, pan mc, gay mc, bi mc, genderfluid side character tw: blood, gore, body horror, death, drugs, past suicide, suicide ideation, toxic relationship there are like 3 thoughts in my head: 1) there is no plot, only nausicaä being super extremely gay for arlo 2) this is like fullmetal alchemist: brotherhood but make it extra gay and also with less war crimes 3) y'all have no clue how gay this title actually is rep: lesbian mc with depression, pan mc, gay mc, bi mc, genderfluid side character tw: blood, gore, body horror, death, drugs, past suicide, suicide ideation, toxic relationship there are like 3 thoughts in my head: 1) there is no plot, only nausicaä being super extremely gay for arlo 2) this is like fullmetal alchemist: brotherhood but make it extra gay and also with less war crimes 3) y'all have no clue how gay this title actually is

  11. 4 out of 5

    ❀ Alex ❀ (The Scribe Owl)

    See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl! Thank you to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! This was a buddy read with the ultimate buddy reading partners, Katie @ Whispering Pages and (kind of) Lia @ Chain of Novels! 4.5/5 stars! This was amazing. I mean, I expected it to be good but wow. I've read glowing reviews by some of my friends, and let me tell you--it's all true! Honestly, the only reason I didn't rate this book five stars is that I just about n See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl! Thank you to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! This was a buddy read with the ultimate buddy reading partners, Katie @ Whispering Pages and (kind of) Lia @ Chain of Novels! 4.5/5 stars! This was amazing. I mean, I expected it to be good but wow. I've read glowing reviews by some of my friends, and let me tell you--it's all true! Honestly, the only reason I didn't rate this book five stars is that I just about never rate the first book in a series five stars. It's just not enough time for me to really fall in love with the characters and world as much as I could have! The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family. A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and bent 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? When I first read the blurb for this book I was taken aback. Comparing it to City of Bones AND The Cruel Prince? But let me tell you--it's right. It is definitely like those two books! We have a fantastic cast in an urban fantasy setting (City of Bones) and a detailed system of faeries and magic that are hidden from the human world (The Cruel Prince)! Just a side note, but this is probably one of the first times a book has actually been anything like the popular books that it's compared to. If you've read any reviews about this book, the main thing that people are stealing about are the characters. AS THEY SHOULD. The characters in this book were AMAZING! Like I said earlier, this book was likened to City of Bones for its large cast (and urban fantasy.) This story is told by four POVs. Sounds exhausting. But somehow it isn't! All the characters have very distinctive voices and it's easy to tell them apart. Our main cast mostly breaks off into two distinct groups: Nausicaä and Arlo are the first and Aurelian and Vehan are the second. Nausicaä took a while to grow on me, but I loved Arlo right away. Out of all the characters I'm probably the most like Arlo, so that was fun to see! Nausicaä is not my kind of character at all. Maybe it's just that I'm too much of a Hufflepuff to appreciate her Slytherin-ness. But she grew on me over the course of the book and now I like her! She's not my favorite of the four, but I definitely like and appreciate her. Aurelian and Vehan are more of a secondary pairing, as Arlo is the main main character. BUT THEY'RE MY FAVORITE. Aurelian is so sweet and I love seeing what's going on in his head! But Vehan. Vehan is just the best. I don't know why, seeing as he probably got the least amount of page time, but VEHAN IS MY BABY CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE. Quick shoutout to Celadon for being everything! He's main character material. Please please please more Celadon next book. 🥺 I enjoyed this book so much! You bet I'll be trolling NetGalley for book two when it's the time! I hope you give this a read because it was AMAZING.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Emma☀️

    Hmm my actual rating is between 3.5 - 3.75 stars. rtc Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    nausicaä if you see this im free thursday night are you free thursday night so i can take you out on thursday night if you're free i'd like to hang out thursday night please message me back if you're free thursday night when i am free Rep: lesbian mc with depression, pan mc, gay mc, bi mc, genderfluid side character nausicaä if you see this im free thursday night are you free thursday night so i can take you out on thursday night if you're free i'd like to hang out thursday night please message me back if you're free thursday night when i am free Rep: lesbian mc with depression, pan mc, gay mc, bi mc, genderfluid side character

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mash

    February 23rd update : Happy publishing day to this beautiful book! “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." Oh my god, this book was absolutely amazing! First of all, Can I just say that we almost NEVER get (good) fantasy books that take place in Canada, let alone To February 23rd update : Happy publishing day to this beautiful book! “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." Oh my god, this book was absolutely amazing! First of all, Can I just say that we almost NEVER get (good) fantasy books that take place in Canada, let alone Toronto? So, thank you Ashley, for giving me a book that I can read and proudly tell people it takes place in the city I live in, it's honestly amazing. Okay, Now for the actual review. I will probably ramble a lot in this one because I have a lot to say but just note that if you want a more professional, to-the-point kind of review, you should read the one on my blog. The Writing The writing in this book was fantastic. It was atmospheric and very descriptive, it made me feel as if I was in the forests and the clubs with the characters. The book itself follows four different characters. Arlo, Nos (Nausicaä), Vehan and Aurelian (I will dissect them individually later on in the review), some already knew each other and some did not. Throughout the book we travel between the minds of these four characters and it's great to see that the author actually took the time to make the writing different for each character. What I have found in books with many perspectives is that it feels as if I’m reading the book from one perspective that has many names. The actual writing itself does not feel very different. This book, however, has very distinct writing for each character. This helped with the character development and resulted in me, getting really attached to these characters (not that I’m complaining!). I also loved getting those short, little excerpts from Hero, it's really cool that we get to see the other side of the plot. The book itself is very fast-paced and the writing kept me engaged at all times. I liked that Ashley was not afraid to change the way they wrote between the chapters. (you’ll see what I mean once you read the book). I think that’s all I have to say about the writing, just know that it's beautiful, engaging and very, very descriptive. “Toronto was vicious elegance too. From way up high, the city looked like an open maw. Night draped ebony velvet over the fang points of its numerous buildings, disguising their promise of death, and the many glowing lights woven into this deceptive veil reminded Nausicaä of the souls the stars kept watch over. It was beautiful. It was deadly.” The World-Building Obviously, I have read many books with Fae and their worlds, but I specifically liked this one for many reasons. In many other books (with faeries), the fae courts live beside the humans, where there is not much interaction between them and the mortals. In this book, however, the fae world is set in the middle of Toronto, which is a city filled with humans. I find it really fascinating that humans have no idea that the Fae live within them, hidden beneath glamour. Like “The wolf in a sheep's skin”. Anyway, I know I say this in every single review that I write, but I’ll say it again. The world building is one of the most important aspects of a fantasy book, it is the foundation that the rest of the book is built upon. If the foundation is not good then the entire building will not be strong. Likewise, if the world-building is not well developed, the entire book becomes a mess. Thankfully, that was NOT the case with this book. The Fae courts were described well and by the end of the book, I understood a lot about this Fae world and the connections within it. I cannot wait to read more about the courts and the politics of it in the next book(s). The Plot Gosh, I loved this plot so much. There was always so much going on, internal and external conflicts. The build up towards that climax was really well written and the climax itself ended on a good note. I’m going to keep this short because I don't want to reveal spoilers. Basically, it's engaging and fast-paced with many unexpected plot twists (and lots of dramatic irony!). And now, I sound like a simp but I'm not even mad. The Characters Ahhh, what can I even say? These characters are literally so amazing, I have no words. Each individual character was so different and they were all so intriguing put together. I loved the character development that happened in just one book and I'm glad Ashley spent so much time writing about the characters, it helped form a strong connection. I’m going to talk about each character individually now because I have a lot to say about each one. (Nos) Nausicaä Ahh, I love Nos so much, she’s such a strong character, both physically and mentally. After she was exiled from her kingdom and tethered to the mortal world, Nos has made a name for herself. She is just so honest and straigh-forward, it's actually really refreshing. She is also the girl on the cover and can we just admit that she’s really pretty? Anyway, we get lots of development on her character through her interactions with the other characters in the book. She’s like a teddy bear under all those weapons (well at least for one person anyway). In the next book, I really want to see more about her past and her relationships with her sisters and mother. I'm also really interested in seeing the reason she was actually exiled. Arlo Arlo is such an amazing character (my little cinnamon roll!). She is soft-spoken but she has a really fierce personality and she isn't afraid to do what is right, no matter how hard it might be. Throughout the book, Arlo is put into so many difficult situations that you would think she would get tired and lost, but they just made her stronger and more determined. I loved her relationship with her cousin and everyone else in the book. She never judged anyone and was always honest and open. I can’t wait to get more of her in the next book! Aurelian Aurelian was a great character to read about. He has a facade of strength and stoic calmness, in reality, he is strong and calm but he is also so sweet. Because of a certain someone, he has to act a certain way around Vehan and it's so frustrating. He has such thoughtful opinions and is actually such a sweetheart. His relationship with Vehan is soo cute and I just love how honest he is. I want to say more but I’m not going to because I don’t want to reveal any spoilers. In the next book, I want to know more about his past and his feelings. Vehan Ohhhh, My beautiful little summer prince. Okay, well he's not very little but I still love him so much. He is such a wholesome character, I swear we do not deserve him at all. He is strong but he is also not afraid to show his emotions and he doesnt lie to himself (especially about his feelings…). I like that he didn't use his status as a prince to undermine anyone or act condescending towards others. He was very open towards the other characters and he welcomed them with open arms. Again, not gonna say much but in the next book, I want him to be a little more confident and believe in himself more, also not let a certain someone decide who he is. Okay, i had to make a cinnamon roll chart for all my little friends so here is that, I wasn’t entirely sure where to put Vehan, so please feel free to disagree and tell me what changes you would make :) Looks like a Cinnamon Roll, is a cinnamon roll : Arlo Looks like a Cinnamon roll, could actually kill you : Vehan Looks like they can kill you, is actually a Cinnamon Roll : Aurelian Looks like they could kill you, could actually kill you : Nos (Nausicaä) And that's it! I recommend this book to anyone who liked fantasy that has lots of diversity and rep. The writing is great, the plot is engaging and the characters are good enough to die for. I literally do not have patience for the next book, I don't wanna waitttt till next year to read it! Thank you to Netgalley for this (e)ARC, I'm grateful that I was able to read such an amazing book early. **Disclaimer** This is all personal opinion and is in no way intended to harass or offend anyone, if I do, I sincerely apologize (also let me know so I can fix the offensive content, thank you) Blog Pinterest

  15. 4 out of 5

    ☀︎El In Oz☀︎

    3/5 Hahah I sadly am pretty disappointed by this book, but I sort of expected that. This is a book that’s an urban fantasy that centers around 4 queer teens and a murder mystery. Honestly I’m so sad that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as some of my other friends did. I think I’ll start with the positives. The world is very cool. I like the general idea of it. That being said, the info dumps in this book killed me. Literally every chapter, even the last one, had some info dump on some part of the 3/5 Hahah I sadly am pretty disappointed by this book, but I sort of expected that. This is a book that’s an urban fantasy that centers around 4 queer teens and a murder mystery. Honestly I’m so sad that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as some of my other friends did. I think I’ll start with the positives. The world is very cool. I like the general idea of it. That being said, the info dumps in this book killed me. Literally every chapter, even the last one, had some info dump on some part of the world. And I get Ashely probably wanted this world to be as detailed as possible, but there was too many things to keep track of. There’s seelie and unseelie beings, each represented by a different season. Then we have the more general groups of Fae, Faeries and Ironborn. We have also a gazillion different other creatures in this book. We have multiple gods and high beings, so many in fact I’m confused as to who actually is the main ruler of this world. We have a petty squabble over the bone crown when literally Luck is a literal being?? Luck?? Like seriously I couldn’t help but laugh at how dumb half the struggles seemed in this book in the grand scheme of things. I really loved the writing style. It was very immersive. That being said, it was sometimes too detailed. There were overly long descriptions of rooms that I didn’t need, a general vibe is enough for me. I found myself skipping pages of my e-book because I didn’t need to know the specific colours of the tiles in the room the characters were in. The characters were overly not my favourite. Our main character is Arlo, an Ironborn who seems determined to not be anything in life. Seriously this girl will spend pages talking about how she wants to have magic but when she realizes the responsibility and consequences that can come with magic, she suddenly is all ‘I don’t want magic or to be a hero’. I’m sorry I could care less for her. Nausicaä, aka Nos, is an immortal, sarcastic lesbian that I slowly hated as the book continued. She starts off pretty likeable, with that badass vibe and attitude. She complains about ‘teenagers’ since she’s like 500 or something but she acts the most childish of any of them. She complains all the time and she overall is someone I would probably never be friends with. Her vibe is not my vibe. Aurelian is just a bland character. The only thing I know about him is that he’s gay and also being threatened apparently. He has like 2 chapters in his POV across the entire book, so we don’t have much chance to get to know him anyways. He’s pretty boring. Vehan is probably the only MC I didn’t dislike in this book. He’s a cinnamon roll (and if you didn’t know, my type is either a cinnamon roll, anti-hero, or super angsty boy but he’s actually just a sad cinnamon roll) so he gets points for that. He has a small amount of POV’s which is sad because he’s the least annoying. The best character in this book is ofc Celadon, who doesn’t get nearly enough page time. I think this book is so slow. Super slow. Probably one of the slower books I’ve ever read. The main characters don’t meet until literally 65% through. Half this book was useless filler and unnecessary scenes that I didn’t care for. The mystery itself never had any stakes. We’re never given any answers to make it seem like there’s much of an issue. I just didn’t care for the plot much. The finale was super anti climactic. The villain was so 2-D I laughed. Seriously, there was no real reason for them to be a villain. It’s a typical thirst for power goal. That type of goal is my vibe, but it was super bland here. I just truly didn’t care much. At the end of the day, I didn’t care much for this book but it was a solid 3 star. I’m not sure if I will read the sequel, we’ll have to see. (Thanks to Lia for discussing this book with me! It was very fun, and overall I loved some of your thoughts!)

  16. 4 out of 5

    May

    JUST GOT THIS ARC FROM NETGALLEY!! 😍

  17. 4 out of 5

    mish ♡

    uHM just got an arc of this don't talk to me eEEEK i'm sorry i didn't even finish the synopsis i just took a look at the cover and read toronto like whaaatt 🤪🤪 fantasy set in my city ??? uHM just got an arc of this don't talk to me eEEEK i'm sorry i didn't even finish the synopsis i just took a look at the cover and read toronto like whaaatt 🤪🤪 fantasy set in my city ???

  18. 5 out of 5

    Salma19 (High Lady of the Dawn Court)

    DNF'ed at 54% Regardless of my enjoyment of the book, I am incredibly grateful to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an Advance Review Copy of Ashley Shuttleworth's ``A Dark and Hollow Star``. All opinions are my own. They have made me lucky by giving me access to one of my 2021 most anticipated releases. Again, thanks a lot! To begin with, A Dark and Hollow Star's promise of an Urban Fantasy based on modern-day Toronto full of faeries with LGBTQA+ characters gravitated my DNF'ed at 54% Regardless of my enjoyment of the book, I am incredibly grateful to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an Advance Review Copy of Ashley Shuttleworth's ``A Dark and Hollow Star``. All opinions are my own. They have made me lucky by giving me access to one of my 2021 most anticipated releases. Again, thanks a lot! To begin with, A Dark and Hollow Star's promise of an Urban Fantasy based on modern-day Toronto full of faeries with LGBTQA+ characters gravitated my attention toward this book. To give more insight into the plot, each of the seasonal faerie realms is divided by the Seelie and the Unseelie, faeries of light and faeries of darkness. In this world, the half-faeries half-humans are called ironborn. Plenty of them are suddenly murdered and our main characters are trying to figure out who orchestrated the murders and why. This character-driven tale voices five perspectives: Arlo, a female ironborn torn between her human and High Fae heritage; Nausicaä, the fierce lesbian warrior wanting to avenge a loved one's death; Aurelian, the Seelie prince of the Summer Court; Vehan, Aurelian's friend; Hero, a mysterious janitor. As a Canadian person who grew up loving mythological creatures and Urban Fantasy, this story sounded like a dream come true. Moreover, vampires, trolls, and djinns also made their way into this fantastical version of Toronto. However, their coexistence with the Fae and humans is not as well explored as I wanted to. Shuttleworth mention in their debut novel that the Fae came from Europe and more specifically, Scotland and England, but did not expand on the historical backgrounds of other creatures. As Toronto is well-known as one of the most multicultural places in North America, I expected the author to offer more cultural history on how other creatures (who came from Eastern European, Asian, African, and Middle Eastern folklore) influenced the way this version of Toronto is built and its current patrimony. The first issue I encountered while reading ``A Dark and Hollow Star`` is the pacing. Too many pages were spent depicting unnecessary details such as repeating over and over the character's thoughts and feelings. It felt too stretched out: Shuttleworth could have told the same information but in shorter form. The overload of needless information took me out of the story and I did not want to turn the page until picking the book back up a few days later, convinced that the pacing will improve. In brief, It was not exciting to read. The murder mystery plotline was hidden in the closet. Not any mention of it during the middle of the book. Plus, the characters themselves are not innovative. Arlo is the usual YA protagonist who does not belong in any of her worlds she is supposedly part of. Although Nausicaä’s chapters were the most interesting to me, I already read the story of the fierce and vengeful girl ready to tear the world apart until she meets her love interest who makes her softer. Vehan and Aurelian's chapters full of angst (they have feelings for each other, but they don't want to ruin their long-lost friendship) is a territory I already landed on in the past. I do like multiperspective stories, but the characters did not meet or team up until very late in the book. If they have met earlier, it would have been a great occasion to write banter, which would have increased my interest in their adventure. When I am reading a faerie book (or on any other magical creature), I want rich lore, folklore, rituals, traditions, etc. Unfortunately, ``A Dark and Hollow Star`` failed to intrigue me in Shuttleworth's version of faeries. It did not deliver the thrill page-turner quality of a murder mystery, nor the lush of a faerie world. I know that fairy folklore is very common in Fantasy, but this is not a good reason to skip on what makes the Fae different from others. ———————————————————————— At the end of the day, I am pretty sure Shuttleworth have amazing ideas, but their writing choices did not match what I wanted from their stories. I do not think their debut brings a new touch to the YA Fantasy realm. On a more positive note, if you are looking for a slower-paced Torontonian LGBTQ+ version of stories you probably visited before, this one may be for you.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I love canada and this wholesome queer found family. full RTC.

  20. 5 out of 5

    ;3

    not this being set in the 6ix 🥴 also arlo made me so irrationally annoyed for no reason. the weakest link in the group methinks actually i have one more thing to say—this book made me angry bc of the lack of racial diversity. ur telling me we got 4 main characters and they’re all cornstarch-white? idc that they’re all unapologetically gay. that doesn’t make it inclusive enough. where’s the flavour??? has the author ever even set foot into Toronto? bc the amount of whiteness that saturates the en not this being set in the 6ix 🥴 also arlo made me so irrationally annoyed for no reason. the weakest link in the group methinks actually i have one more thing to say—this book made me angry bc of the lack of racial diversity. ur telling me we got 4 main characters and they’re all cornstarch-white? idc that they’re all unapologetically gay. that doesn’t make it inclusive enough. where’s the flavour??? has the author ever even set foot into Toronto? bc the amount of whiteness that saturates the entirety of this book’s world building doesn’t make sense when u think about how diverse of a city Toronto is. even every secondary and background character is white. i think, in passing, there’s probably only like one black character mentioned. anyway. i was excited to read about an urban fantasy set in a place i live (!!!) for the first time, but idk...i feel like it coulda served even better if the author hadn’t been so narrow-minded.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

    Ashley Shuttleworth’s A Dark and Hollow Star was one of my most anticipated reads for the year. Early reviewers and seeing the author’s tweets had me so excited for it. I have seen so many positive reviews where people say this book is a new all time favorite for them. I could not wait to get my hands on a copy, so I am beyond glad that my local library purchased a copy!! A Dark and Hollow Star follows four queer main character perspectives: a Fury who has been exiled but is set on getting reven Ashley Shuttleworth’s A Dark and Hollow Star was one of my most anticipated reads for the year. Early reviewers and seeing the author’s tweets had me so excited for it. I have seen so many positive reviews where people say this book is a new all time favorite for them. I could not wait to get my hands on a copy, so I am beyond glad that my local library purchased a copy!! A Dark and Hollow Star follows four queer main character perspectives: a Fury who has been exiled but is set on getting revenge, an ironborn half-fae, a fae prince, and the prince’s guardian. When ironborn in Toronto start being murdered and the Courts do not intervene, these teens must race to uncover secrets and stop the murders. With the lack of support from the Courts, they must form their own alliance to save both the Mortal and Immortal Realms. Shuttleworth sets up a really cool premise with the different realms for immortals versus mortals. They seem to blend together really well, and it highlights the fact that this is an urban fantasy. I have not read much of this specific genre of fantasy, but I did like how everything felt modern and believable. At times, I felt like the world could have been explained better though. This is something I hope falls into place in the next book. Right from the beginning of this book I loved the author’s writing. They have a great voice, tone, and mood all throughout. The pacing overall was good, but, in my opinion, was slower at times with it being on the verge of info dumping for certain aspects of the world building. However, I still really admire and appreciate the way Shuttleworth crafts and controls their narrative. It is important to have the set up for the world itself, but I wish it felt more naturally intertwined with the story. This book featured one of my new favorite cast of characters. Nausicaä, Arlo, Vehan, and Aurelian were all really likable and unique. Since I loved them so much and just wanted to keep reading about them, I did start to feel like they were getting lost in the world building and descriptions sometimes. I really liked how the chapters switched back and forth between each of the characters though. I love when books have multiple perspectives. This made it feel like you could really get to know a character as an individual before seeing how they come together and interacted with the other main characters. Arlo was pretty relatable, and I did appreciate how Shuttleworth handled the character’s internal struggles about her powers and fitting in. Nausicaä was also such an interesting character, and I enjoyed learning more about her backstory. The relationships were all really well developed too. A Dark and Hollow Star was a fun read for me. Ashley Shuttleworth really pulled me into their book and world. I can definitely see why so many people are loving this book. I cannot wait to see where the story goes in the next book! *Content warnings: 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, minor Harry Potter references*

  22. 4 out of 5

    anna

    i don’t read a lot of really urban fantasy but i still really enjoyed it! content warnings: (also included at the beginning of the book) anger, mention of arson, slight body horror, death (of children), mention of depression, drug use, grief, psychopathy, suicide (past, off page), trauma, violence this was one of my most anticipated books this year and i really enjoyed this book! the characters omg they were so amazing! i love all of them so much. they were all so unique but worked so well togethe i don’t read a lot of really urban fantasy but i still really enjoyed it! content warnings: (also included at the beginning of the book) anger, mention of arson, slight body horror, death (of children), mention of depression, drug use, grief, psychopathy, suicide (past, off page), trauma, violence this was one of my most anticipated books this year and i really enjoyed this book! the characters omg they were so amazing! i love all of them so much. they were all so unique but worked so well together! nausicaä (nos) is *iconic* she’s so badass and cool and ugh i love her! similarly, arlo was so relatable and she also watches she ra 😁 she’s so cool and her development throughout the story was so cool. vehan and aurelian were amazing characters as well! their friendship (and prob more)? *chefs kiss*. and overall the side characters were also so cool! also just the amount of casual queer rep was so cool! also the romance was most definitely slow burn lol but ahdgjkkfs i ship certain characters so much!! 👀 i also really enjoyed the plot! i felt like it was a little slow in the beginning but overall i think this book was a little more character based then plot based, which i didn’t mind at all. but the main plot we did have was really interesting! and the worldbuilding was really good and i loved the urban setting! i really loved the writing style too! and i can’t wait to see where the rest of the story goes! that epilogue was crazy!! ——— the dark star and the hollow star (a dark and hollow star) being a ship is the most iconic thing ever 😌 “her fate was now up to her, and if the oh-so-powerful deities weren’t brave enough to Destroy her, she was gonna make them regret letting her discover just how satisfying it was to watch things burn.” that quote is so satisfying to read 🤩

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elle Rose

    My Illumicrate edition arrived this morning and it is STUNNING 💕 I’ll definitely be reading this again soon! Thank you NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing for me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. A Dark and Hollow Star is a thrilling and addictive blend of urban fantasy and mystery. The story revolves around a diverse quartet of characters; Arlo, Aurelian, Nausicaä and Vehan, drawn together to investigate a series of murders. “A sidhe prince, a lesidhe guard, an ironborn girl, and My Illumicrate edition arrived this morning and it is STUNNING 💕 I’ll definitely be reading this again soon! Thank you NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing for me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. A Dark and Hollow Star is a thrilling and addictive blend of urban fantasy and mystery. The story revolves around a diverse quartet of characters; Arlo, Aurelian, Nausicaä and Vehan, drawn together to investigate a series of murders. “A sidhe prince, a lesidhe guard, an ironborn girl, and a former fury—they seemed less like a serious investigative team and more like a lead-in to some terrible joke.” Nausicaä is sassy, sarcastic and stubborn, hell bent on wreaking havoc and chaos after being exiled from the immortal realm. Arlo is a half-human ‘ironborn’ member of the fae royal family trying to find her place in the world. Then there’s Prince Vehan a total sweetheart from the seelie summer court, and his retainer Aurelian. They’re both pining after the other and completely oblivious to it. There’s definitely more to come with these two and I suspect they’ll feature heavily in the sequel. The supporting characters are just as great. My favourite being Prince Celadon (details on how to join his fan club needed please) and I’m begging that we see more of him in the second instalment. There is a lot of information to digest at the beginning of the story. But once Ashley Shuttleworth had introduced this incredible world and cast of characters the plot completely enchanted me and I just couldn’t put this down. I loved the plot and the characters so much, this book was the perfect balance between character and plot driven, I can’t wait for book two.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anniek

    I really spent years thinking I didn't like fae books only to realize the existing ones were just painfully cishet. That said, if I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be "confusing". I started reading it and felt confused. It was halfway through; still confused. And having finished it, that hasn't changed. The one way I can see this being a good thing is if this book was a very long introduction to a series with multiple chunky installments. But even then, I feel like the author could I really spent years thinking I didn't like fae books only to realize the existing ones were just painfully cishet. That said, if I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be "confusing". I started reading it and felt confused. It was halfway through; still confused. And having finished it, that hasn't changed. The one way I can see this being a good thing is if this book was a very long introduction to a series with multiple chunky installments. But even then, I feel like the author could have done a better job adding clarity to the story, and I just found there was such a lack of structure. The world building and the plot were very hard to keep track of for me, and I really couldn't make sense of the different kinds of fae. I realize this makes it sound like I didn't enjoy this book very much, and it may sound unlikely, but I actually did have a great time reading it. I especially loved the characters. I just spent the entire time feeling so confused and waiting for explanations, and they never came. I might end up rereading this book at some point, because I did find it enjoyable and intriguing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Flora⁷ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

    i'm a simple bisexual, i see a beautiful girl on the cover and i want it i'm a simple bisexual, i see a beautiful girl on the cover and i want it

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dorian Haviliard♕

    Fae *is mentioned* Me: *sighs and adds Shuttleworth to the list that already has Sarah J Maas and Holly Black*

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    DNF at 5% No one is more disappointed than me because the premise of this sounds amazing, but I just cannot deal with the writing. It's overwritten with clunky prose, info-dumps, excessive description, and giving me nothing to really care about the characters or anything that is happening. I hope others will get on with this better than I did because the concept is very cool! Fae creatures in Toronto, a queer cast of characters...sounds awesome. Unfortunately I just can't with the writing style a DNF at 5% No one is more disappointed than me because the premise of this sounds amazing, but I just cannot deal with the writing. It's overwritten with clunky prose, info-dumps, excessive description, and giving me nothing to really care about the characters or anything that is happening. I hope others will get on with this better than I did because the concept is very cool! Fae creatures in Toronto, a queer cast of characters...sounds awesome. Unfortunately I just can't with the writing style and don't see my experience being a positive one. I received an advance copy of this for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own. Note: After looking at other reviews, people do seem to be loving this! So if you can get past the writing you may have a better experience. It just really isn't working for me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jee Hewson

    I don’t even know where to begin in praising this masterpiece because it’s absolutely fantastic. Crime solving faes and the biggest UST f/f chemistry you’ll ever get to read, this is a tale that everyone should add to their list because the story will pull you right in and won’t let you go until the very end (and even then...). I’ve read several versions of it and it keeps getting better despite the fact that I’ve thought it was perfect from the start - how does she do it? Well. Ashley is a Godd I don’t even know where to begin in praising this masterpiece because it’s absolutely fantastic. Crime solving faes and the biggest UST f/f chemistry you’ll ever get to read, this is a tale that everyone should add to their list because the story will pull you right in and won’t let you go until the very end (and even then...). I’ve read several versions of it and it keeps getting better despite the fact that I’ve thought it was perfect from the start - how does she do it? Well. Ashley is a Goddess. SO PLEASE READ THIS BOOK BECAUSE YOU WON’T REGRET IT.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    Me: wow, this cover is gorgeous! Me: wow, this sounds amazing! Me: wow, let’s add this to the tbr! Me: wow, this...... comes out in 2021. SAD FACE. :(

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zeal

    3rd read (4th April 2021): I cried at so many random things this time around, but at this point Iam so in love with these characters, even the villains that its a lot to process. This definitely gets better with rereads cause I am still picking up on new things and feeling clever cause of the authors worldbuilding. How many times will Ihave read this before the next book comes out in summer 2022? - 2nd read (4th March 2021): I enjoyed this book and everything it gave me the first time, but the sec 3rd read (4th April 2021): I cried at so many random things this time around, but at this point Iam so in love with these characters, even the villains that its a lot to process. This definitely gets better with rereads cause I am still picking up on new things and feeling clever cause of the authors worldbuilding. How many times will Ihave read this before the next book comes out in summer 2022? - 2nd read (4th March 2021): I enjoyed this book and everything it gave me the first time, but the second time I really started processing everything it was offering to me and it is giving me so so much. I relate to and love these 4 characters in ways I've never seen myself in a character, and I found myself with so much more appreciation of Aurelian and Arlo this time round because the two of them really have just been roped into this. Nausicaa's mental state is such a reflection of my own and it made me want to cry, Aurelian almost breaking so many times but holding himself together. All of it made me feel and think so much. I wrote a 200-tweet thread while reading this the second time, and I could have doubled that if I had said everything I wanted to say. This book won't be for everyone it sets a slow pace until page 400 and then hurdles to the end without breathing and the end has more questions than answers, but it's bringing me so much comfort in knowing it exists. I know in reality it's just another YA book but I think for me it's THE YA book. I can see the faults in this book, tings are over-described, there are one too many POVs and we don't spend our time evenly but I am simply choosing to ignore that because it really makes me so joyous and sometimes we just need that book. Also I read the audio book this time round and the narrators were all very, very well cast. - 1st Read (2nd February): Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton/Hodderscape for providing a free eARC of this book via NetGalley. 5 very, very perfect shiny not dark or hollow stars: Do you know when the book that is perfect for you just walks into your life? A Dark and Hollow Star is my version of that book, I haven't felt this way about a book since I read Carry On over 5 years ago. - An original, thrilling and wonderful take on YA fantasy, that breathes new life to the fae that have become commonplace in the genre. These aren’t your medieval faeries from A Court of Thorns and Roses or The Folk of The Air, they’re young, modern, queer and absolutely full of personality. That’s why my review for this book is going to be slightly all over the place when I love a book to this capacity I struggle to put how I feel into words, ironically. A Dark and Hollow Star meets all the criteria I want from a favourite book and even verges into a comfort book. It has an adventure full of magic with dark stakes, unlikely alliances between hot-headed characters, lots of gay pining and so much worldbuilding you feel completely sucked in. ADAHS followers our four main/POV characters; Nausicaa - a sarcastic, rightfully stubborn, extremely strong ex-Fury who should have no interest in the murders the plot is based around. However, her strength hides her depression (for which she freely admits to goes to therapy - yes to that!) from losing someone she loved and for that she vowed to never love again. Easily the character you want to root for after you find out about her, her dialogue and interactions with the other characters are the best full of intellect, quick wit and loving condensing remarks and her developing friendship with Arlo is so rewarding. Arlo - The ‘main’ character, a sweet and naive ironborn (half-fae) girl. She’s slightly awkward and completely unsure of herself, she doesn’t have a sense of belonging. Except her cousin and mother, her fae family don’t want her and the human realm seems to have no place for her. Her character development is one of my favourites, especially because it’s so tied to Nausicaa’s. Also she loves fandom stuff, like manga and video games and it just makes her so much more real. Vehan - My personal favourite character, my sweet prince, he really is a complex little bean. The High Prince of the Seelie Summer Court, there is so much more going on underneath the perfect exterior he works so hard to maintain and there is a moment where he broke my heart. He understands the privilege of his position and he is so clearly burdened by it. Aurelian - Vehan’s retainer, his guard, the two of them were once best friends but they’re still madly in love with each other, idiots-to-lovers like the author themself said. Like Nausicaa, he has a hard exterior, which may bring them to a head with each other, but there is no denying he is sweet. The world hasn’t had a chance to properly disillusion him yet, he started maintaining his distance from Vehan from both there own good. There is also a strong cast of side and supporting characters, every single one of whom feels developed and like a real person regardless of if they appear for one page or are a constant presence. That’s why this is so comforting to me, all of these characters feel real if you take away the fact they’re, fae, faeries, trolls, goblins or whatever else, they all feel like people you could meet on the street. Another brilliant part of this book is the world feels so real, it’s set between Toronto and Nevada and Shuttleworth’s writing of the former is deeply personal while also being atmospheric and imagination-inducing. The way the magic simply just existed almost makes me want to go to Toronto to find it, even though it isn’t actually real. Despite this being a debut there are no weak links in the writing, the dialogue is just as brilliant as the prose and I absolutely LOVE when you can tell a book is work of a complete passion by the author and they have even put parts of themselves into the book. Shuttleworth weaved so many influences in here (greek mythology, fae and faerie tales, RPGs, dungeons and dragons) and yet they don’t get muddled up because it’s not written to be confusing like so many other fantasy stories that reach the scale of A Dark and Hollow Star. My only issue was how unresolved Aurelian and Vehan’s story felt, but I suspect it is because they are the ones that will lead us into the sequel. Before I conclude I wanted to notes few things I adored; a character that uses they/them pronouns, the use of actual sexuality and gender labels for the characters that they use to describe themselves, a character that uses NEOPRONOUNS, describing a girl as handsome, the discussion of mental illness that isn’t forced. But in conclusion, A Dark and Hollow Star is my new comfort book and also a book I want to see completely take over the YA Fantasy genre, it is a shining example of what the genre is headed toward. There are wonderful ships and relatable characters and beautiful writing. It is a book I think any fantasy fan would enjoy, with enough magic and plot to go around because it strikes a perfect balance between character and plot-driven.

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