22 September 2012

Ashley & Kat review: Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

Hollowland (The Hollows #1) by Amanda Hocking
Published: 6 October 2010

Pages: 312 (paperback)

Genre/s: Zombies, Young Adult

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK

Synopsis (Goodreads)

"This is the way the world ends - not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door."

Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way - not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.

So here we have it - Kat & Ashley's first ever dual review. Don't forget to go and check out Ashley's blog The Bibliophile's Corner

Our Thoughts On: The Characters

Ashley: Remy is such a badass. If ever I were in a zombie apocalypse, I would make sure to put her on my team. Aside from being a badass, I loved Remy because of her slightly crazed determination to get to her brother. As the oldest sibling with three younger sisters, I know what it's like to do anything to protect. In terms of killing zombies, no, not so much. But I definitely connected with Remy on this sibling level. My only frustration with her is how long it took for Remy to realize that she is actually allowed to care for other people. She spends the majority of the book telling herself she has to be strong, emotions only make her weak, and that her only focus should be her brother, Max.

Harlow is not someone that I would picture surviving the zombie apocalypse. She wears lace, skirts, and combat boots. I do commend her on the choice for choosing combat boots over some strappy sandal. I am still trying to decide if I like Harlow or not. On the one hand, she is a thirteen year old girl who wants to maintain some sense of normal in this otherwise not so normal world. She looks up to Remy and knows that without her, she would probably die. But on the other hand, I have a hard time liking her optimism. Well, maybe denial is a better word. I just wish Harlow would have been a bit more mature.

Lazlo is a former rock star. He is good looking, charming, and completely useless. The first year of the zombie apocalypse, he was in an underground bunker. While I can't really blame him for not being a decent fighter, I suppose when you haven't been trained at all, it's not really your fault. Aside from being a failure at fighting, I really did love him. While he does understand the gravity of the situation, he chooses to use humor and smiles to make those around him at ease. He is definitely the yin to Remy's yang.

Blue is another person I want on my zombie killing team. His wonderful med skills and fighting skills would come in handy. So far as his role in this little team, he was very much the quiet leader. Remy is the badass, loud leader, but Blue was the voice of reason. Without Blue, Lazlo would not have made it as far as he did. By the end of the book, Blue is very much my favorite character.

Ripley, the lion. Yes, there is a lion. I feel like I don't really need to explain how freaking brilliant this is. She fights, mauls, and eat zombies. And is immune to their virus. Brilliant.

Kat: Take one tough zombie-killing chick, add a rockstar, a doctor, a teenage girl and mix in a lion (yes, a LION!), and you've got the characters of Hollowland. As unlikely as this bunch seems, they work together well as a group of characters.
Remy is hardcore, no doubt, and you could almost say she borders on heartless, but if you were surviving the zombie apolcaypse, becoming emotionally detached is going to be inevitable at times. After all, for Remy, survival is her number one priority. But despite that harsh side, I did like her as a character - underneath the tough-girl there's a girl that just wants to find her brother and protect her friends.

I did think it was disappointing that we didn't get to know Blue better, and instead the focus was more on Laszlo, who I actually didn't really like, nor did I understand what the attraction was between him and Remy - he came across as a bit of a stereotype at the beginning and I think that kind of killed any potential I had to actually like him but he did start to redeem himself a little by the end.

Our Thoughts On: The Plot

Ashley: The only issue I have with the plot is that from the beginning, we as readers are asked to be 100% behind Remy in her search for her brother. As an older sibling, I was more than able to. But I can see how this might be problematic for other people. The entirety of this book is Remy doing whatever it takes to get to the new military location where her brother might be. However, Remy and her little group get thrown into some pretty interesting situations that they are forced to deal with. But at the end of the day, Remy is still only concerned with Max.

When it comes to relationships, they all start out as convenience relationships but each turns into something real by the end. The romance between Remy and Lazlo seemed a little weird at first, but I slowly warmed up to very much the same way Remy warms up to it. The relationship between Remy and Harlow I really enjoyed because by the end, they have bonded to an almost sister-like relationship.

The ending of this book was predictable for me, but I still enjoyed seeing everyone's actions leading up to it. That being said, I still wanted to shake Remy when she made her choice.

Kat: As far as zombie books goes, Hollowland is pretty fantastical. I'll talk more about the zombies themselves later, but they are different to the 'usual' zombies, and although that was fascinating at times, at others I really had to work to suspend my disbelief. Everything moves along at a fairly quick pace, and there's a huge variety of things going on - religious fanatics, marauders, military, scientists and settlers.

There are some deaths of seemingly key characters, but certainly not at the level I'm used to in zombie books. (Whoa I sound like I wanted more people to die! Ok maybe I did...)

Our Thoughts On: The World Building

Ashley: The world building in Hollowland was very much like every other zombie world. Not to say that this is a bad thing. Survivors battling in a desolate world, military folk having fortresses against zombies, etc. So while the world of Hollowland was not original, I still appreciated it. I do wish there would have been more explanation of the how the zombie virus started. Maybe I'm weird, but I like seeing the downfall of humans in zombie books. I like seeing things go out of control so that I can see humans struggle to bring it back under control.

Kat: OK, I have to get this out of my system - I had problems with the zombies. The disease is caused by lyssavirus (of which rabies is a strain), which sounds plausible, but the zombies are

a) evolving, becoming smarter and eat each other (and dirt!)

b) the recently turned ones are fast (28 Days Later style)

c) at several points they are disposed of by less than traditional head-shot means.

There's one particular scene in which Remy slashes a zombie across the throat and he stops to regain his composure (so to speak), before resuming his attack - call me a traditionalist, but I like my zombies to be non-stop, pain-and-emotion-free types. In Amanda Hocking's defence, I can see how this could possibly be part of the storyline in later books, so I'm trying not to judge it too harshly.

Otherwise it's a pretty standard zombie-survival kinda story - group of people trying to avoid being eaten whilst searching for someone/something/somewhere.

Our Final Thoughts

Ashley: Overall, this is an enjoyable read, perhaps not the most wonderful execution, but the moments that were great made the whole book great.

Kat: I did enjoy Hollowland - it's an interesting plot with a lot of potential for the next book/s in the series and the characters are fun and unique. Despite some questionable editing (I found several grammatical/spelling errors that were quite jarring in their obviousness), and a few points that upset my zombie traditionalist tendencies, I can see the wider appeal - a kick-ass heroine, freaky scary zombies with brains and a lion. Yeah, I still can't get over the lion!

Our Rating:
Ashley gives it 4 out of 5
Kat gives it 3 out of 5 


  1. Awesome, awesome review! You ladies totally kick arse! I'm so glad to finally see your thoughts on this book, Kat. And Ashley, I will definitely be checking out your blog now. Excellent work! Can't wait to read the next dual review. :)

    1. Thank you, Wendy! And you shouldn't have to wait too soon for the next dual review. :D I love doing these with Kat.

    2. We will definitely be doing another one again very soon - they are so much fun!

  2. Ripley is by far my favorite non-human sidekick. I think her presence really just made this book a hit for me. Can't wait to see your thoughts on Book 2.

  3. Hmmm - I'm weird about my zombie stuff too. BUT a lion sidekick?? That's kind of awesome lol I didn't realize this was about zombie either. I might have to check it out.

    1. The lion helped me get past some of the things that bugged me about the zombies - I'm a total traditionalist!

  4. Love your duel review! Think the typos and grammar mistakes will probably annoy me, but how can I not read a book with a zombie-eating lion? Hadn't heard of this one, so thanks for the heads up!

    1. Thanks for reading! And I'm not going to lie. I'm not sure how I missed the typos and grammar mistakes. Lol. I'm glad Kat caught them.

    2. I may have an old version, not sure. But there were only a few small errors, and I'm forever wielding a red pen.

  5. Wait wait wait.. they eat... dirt? Huh.. that's different.. I like that they evolve, I'm always looking for a new twist on the old zombie. Cool review format, it was really fun to read!

    1. Thanks, Jenni! It's just as much fun to do these dual reviews as it is to read them. :D I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    2. Yup, dirt! Romero would have a fit. The evolution bit makes it scarier though.

  6. Ooh wow, love the duel review. I am still to read a book by Amanda Hocking but I think I will start with something else after reading your review, ladies.

    1. Thank you! We love doing the dual review. :D Amanda Hocking has plenty of books for you to choose from. I don't know how she does it.

    2. LOL I know you aren't the biggest zombie fan, so maybe find another one to start with ;-)

  7. I have this one on my Kindle and need to get it read.
    It sounds amazing. Great review guys.



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