Book Review | The Hollow Place by T Kingfisher

Title: The Hollow Places

Author: T Kingfisher

Publisher: Titan Books

Release Date: 3rd November 2020

Source: NetGalley

Kara finds the words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring this peculiar area—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more one fears them, the stronger they become.

With her distinctive “delightfully fresh and subversive” (SF Bluestocking) prose and the strange, sinister wonder found in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, The Hollow Places is a compelling and white-knuckled horror novel that you won’t be able to put down.

Kara is newly single and is looking for the comfort of her family.  Her mother doesn’t always provide this, so she finds herself living with her uncle.  His home is a museum of this most unusual things known to man.  From skulls to stuffed animals to the strangest of trinkets, his museum has it all.  Kara is not remotely bothered, she tries to forget her divorce by starting to cataloguing the museum’s artefacts.

She settles in to a happy routine with occasional trips to the next door coffee shop to see her friend Simon, a coffee pouring, top hat wearing, fishnet sporting gem of a man.  But (and there is always a but) when her uncle needs an operation and subsequent recuperation she finds herself in charge of his museum.  

Tourist come and go. One night while locking up, she discovers a large hole in the wall.  Taking Simon’s advice they try to patch it up but they discover that not only is the wall hollow, there is a passage behind it.  Should they ignore it or explore?

Of course they explore it, and this is when the book reminded me of Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation.  They come across a heavily locked door and instead of taking this as a warning that they shouldn’t open it; they go through and what they see is impossible.

A river with strange islands, each one sporting a similar door to the one they have just come through.  Each door hides a bunker and as they explore the bunkers, they realise despite seeing nobody else; they are definitely not alone.  This strange unknown land is verdant, willow trees (and if you have read Lord of the Rings you know they are always up to no good) seem to grow everywhere, what are they hiding?

Kara and Simon find themselves away from their original door. Can they make it back to their world and will they be able to stop whatever is in this strange world following them back through?

The Hollow Places was very creepy, the world on the other side of the door was very claustrophobic feeling, it made me think of a steamy swamp!  The characters have great banter and Kara is definitely not a weak female character and Simon is not just a token gay character.  They work well together and their friendships works really well.

I’d like to hear more about this strange world, I think it is definitely worth further exploration.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Literary Escapes '21


  1. I loved this too, it was so bizarre! I also really liked Kara and Simon.

  2. A creepy world on the other side of the wall? That's awesome! I'm so in for reading this one. :)

  3. I just read her Twisted Ones books! I really enjoyed it. This is another right up my alley. I want to read all of her books.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  5. After reading the synopsis and your review, I'm on the fence about whether or not I want to read this one. It sounds good, but also not like my normal read. I'll add it to my TBR just in case. :)

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬


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