Thursday, July 22, 2021

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan

These Hollow Vows is YA fantasy that starts a series with the same name. It’s set in a world that is mostly early industrial, but with magic and indoors plumbing. Existing along it is the world of the fae that is accessed through portals.

Brie and her younger sister live Cinderella-like life (before the prince) in their aunt’s house after their mother abandoned them to live with her fae lover on the other side of the portal. They have a magical contract with their aunt that gets worse every time they fail to pay for their upkeep, which Brie provides by stealing from the rich. And then the aunt tires of the game and sells the sister to the king of the unseelie court.

Determined to save her sister, Brie heads to the fairyland and ends up striking a bargain with the king: she has to steal three impossible objects from the seelie court to get her sister back. Since she’s a good thief, she thinks she can manage it. But it’s easier said than done.

This was great YA fantasy. Like in (almost) all of them, there are two handsome men that Brie is interested in who seem to know more about her than they let on (not my favourite trope). As the story progresses, each of the men is revealed to be more than she believed, in good and bad, and she has to constantly adjust her view of them and her role in the story. Since she can’t talk about her deal with the king, she constantly ends up betraying either or both of them.

I liked Brie for the most part. She was resourceful and determined to save her sister. She had magic of her own that she only learns about when she arrives to the fairyland, and she makes the most of it. She wasn’t a teenager of contemporary YA fantasy, but matured by her hardships, which I especially liked. She was an adult and behaved like one. Except when she clung to her princes, hoping that they would save her, which happened too often to my tastes.

The princes, Ronan and Finn, were good YA heroes, charismatic and mysterious, but apart from their looks, I don’t see why Brie was so taken with either of them. Other side characters were few and they weren’t very memorable.

The book progressed in a good pace. The twists and turns were signalled well in advance, so none of them came as a surprise, which made this a pleasant read. And, like so often in YA fantasy, the book ended with the ultimate revelation and betrayal, which promises interesting times in the next book. I’m looking forward to reading it.

I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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