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Book Review: A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

This recommendation has been on my social media for a while, advertised as an LGBTQ+ YA fantasy, so I knew I'd have to pick it up.

I am always on the look out for diverse fantasy stories, especially when they include LGBTQ+ characters. As I'd heard such good things about this one, I had high hopes.

Unfortunately, I was let down pretty quickly. I'm not sure why I didn't connect with the main character, I just didn't. I got a third into the book and questioned why the hell I cared about them at all. I didn't know why I should care about any of the main characters, or why children were dying.

I will add that fairies/fae haven't always been my cup of tea. I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses because they didn't feel as fairy-like as most stories I've read.

Like the Shadow & Bone series, I was let down here because of how little romance there was. It could be because it was YA, but I just didn't connect with the story. There was flirtation, and some brooding, but the characters didn't quite get to the meat of the romance.

Even the villain was a little weird. Some random dude who was using magic to hurt people, and he had this weird vendetta against the main character because he was in love with his benefactor and thought his benefactor wanted the girl? None of it made much sense to me. The story felt anything but resolved in the end.

I don't think I'm going to read further in this series, if I'm being honest. It just didn't work for me. I need to be engaged from the start. Show me why I should care about this character. Make the attraction between characters sizzle. Give me something to root for! I just didn't feel it here. I also want intriguing villains. I want a villain that pops off of the page, a villain that makes me ponder if maybe, just maybe, they are the hero of their own story.

Thanks, Abbie

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