A dark, twisty modern fairytale where three sisters discover they are not exactly all that they seem and evil things really do go bump in the night.
Iris Hollow and her two older sisters are unquestionably strange. Ever since they disappeared on a suburban street in Scotland as children only to return a month a later with no memory of what happened to them, odd, eerie occurrences seem to follow in their wake. And they’re changing. First, their dark hair turned white. Then, their blue eyes slowly turned black. They have insatiable appetites yet never gain weight. People find them disturbingly intoxicating, unbearably beautiful, and inexplicably dangerous.
But now, ten years later, seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow is doing all she can to fit in and graduate high school on time–something her two famously glamourous globe-trotting older sisters, Grey and Vivi, never managed to do. But when Grey goes missing without a trace, leaving behind bizarre clues as to what might have happened, Iris and Vivi are left to trace her last few days. They aren’t the only ones looking for her though. As they brush against the supernatural they realize that the story they’ve been told about their past is unraveling and the world that returned them seemingly unharmed ten years ago, might just be calling them home.
I was ten years old the first time I realized I was strange.
House of Hollow is delightfully creepy in the most beautiful way.
Dark, dangerous things happened around the Hollow sisters.
We each had black eyes and hair as white as milk. We each had enchanting four-letter names: Grey, Vivi, Iris. We walked to school together. We ate lunch together. We walked home together. We didn’t have friends, because we didn’t need them. We moved through the corridors like sharks, the other little fish parting around us, whispering behind our backs.
Everyone knew who we were. Everyone had heard our story. Everyone had their own theory about what had happened to us. My sisters used this to their advantage. They were very good at cultivating their own mystery like gardeners, coaxing the heady intrigue that ripened around them into the shape of their choosing. I simply followed in their wake, quiet and studious, always embarrassed by the attention. Strangeness only bred strangeness, and it felt dangerous to tempt fate, to invite in the darkness that seemed already naturally drawn to us.
Sutherland does an incredible job of hooking your interest early and not letting go. From the first pages, I wanted to know more about everything. The mysteries start early and keep piling on, from the sisters’ disappearance to the man with the bull skull, to Grey’s disappearance, to the missing children worldwide. Add in corpse flowers, insatiable appetites, unexplained scars, and so many smells. Layer upon layer of mystery adds complexity to what could’ve been a very simple story. I absolutely loved it.
You must understand, by now, that you are different. Why are you so beautiful, do you think? So hungry? So able to bend the wills of those around you? You are like the death flowers that grow rampant in your wake: lovely to look at, intoxicating even, but get too close and you will soon learn that there is something rank beneath. That’s what beauty often is, in nature. A warning. A disguise.
House of Hollow feels very tactile. Sutherland describes this world so deeply that it invades your senses and takes over. It’s not a book you can put down and forget about and move on with your day. The magic escapes with you, and you’ll be watching for flowers and ants and maggots with every step.
I will admit that Sutherland probably took the monsters are monsters and men are monsters thing a little far. I understand Iris’ fear after her terrible experiences, but it started to take me a little out of the story.
My sisters. My blood. My skin. What a gruesome bond we shared.
I loved where this story went and the path it took to get there. It was intense and horrifying, and so incredibly captivating. I have nothing but good things to say about the creepy atmosphere, the gore, and the bond between these sisters.