Book Review

These Hollow Vows

These Hollow Vows

  • Author: Lexi Ryan
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Publication Date: July 20, 2021
  • Publisher: Clarion Books
  • Series: These Hollow Vows #1

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING: blood, murder

I could revel in the darkness. These are the house of spies and thieves. They’re my hours.

Brie would do anything before making a deal with the fae; death is preferable to their vicious schemes. But when her sister is taken by the sadistic king of the Unseelie Court, there is nothing Brie wouldn’t do to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the rival Seelie Court.

Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie Court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, the Seelie prince who’s not quite as wicked as she once thought. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. But as Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she finds herself struggling to resist his seductive charm.

Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty … and with her heart.

I’m clearly a sucker for all things Faerie, and this book is certainly no exception. I loved that it’s dark and exciting and sexy, with a morally gray main character that I was 1000% pulling for. There’s an unwanted chosen one trope, but it did fall into the “not like other girls” trap a little bit, which I’m not generally a fan of, but it did kind of work in this book. 

The plot was exciting and full of action. There was a lot going on. 

After a traumatic house fire, Brie was left in charge of her sister, Jas, while her mother went to live in Faerie, presumably coming back for them. Except she didn’t. And Brie has been struggling to take care of Jas, but sinking deeper into debt. Until the day Jas is sold to the king of the Unseelie Court. Fortunately, this happens right on the cusp of a marriage competition vaguely reminiscent of The Selection, where 12 human girls are chosen to compete for the honor of marrying Prince Ronan of the Seelie Court. However, this is where things get complicated, because Brie has to make a deal with the Unseelie King to steal back some items, and in order to do that, she also has to sneak into the competition to win the heart of the Seelie prince. And while she doesn’t really want to do either thing, she’ll do anything to get her sister back safely. 

“‘You need to understand that nothing in my realm is a coincidence, human. If you present yourself to the prince, he will do everything in his power to keep you close. He will give you the access you need.’”

This puts her into an incredibly dangerous position. And here’s where we see how different she is from the other girls. Her focus is on her sister, so she is working to get these artifacts for the Unseelie king, instead of going to the parties and wooing Prince Ronan. But she’s working with a rogue group of Unseelie Faeries to develop her skills and developing some feelings for one of them. At the same time, she’s developing a connection to Prince Ronan.

“I want to shake him and tell him I don’t deserve the adoration in his eyes. I’m the worst. A liar. A thief. A manipulator.”

But she’s constantly struggling between the feelings that are coming up and her ultimate goal of saving her sister. While she gets distracted at times, her past experience with her mother keeps her grounded. Because deep down, she a really smart girl who doesn’t trust the Fae at all, on any level.

“Loving a faerie can make you lose yourself. It can make you forget what matters most. My mother did.”

But it’s causing her to experience an internal conflict between her desires. She wants two different things that are at odds with each other, and she knows that she can’t have both. She can’t find love with a Faerie and complete her mission successfully to save her sister. And she doesn’t trust anyone enough to rely on them. 

“How can feeling unworthy of a position I never wanted make me feel so small?”

The story is fast-moving and completely engrossing. I found myself immersed in the story, and absolutely loved how everything unfolded. The Faerie kingdoms were described so beautifully that it felt like I was right there with the characters, and couldn’t stop reading. It constantly felt like I was trying to figure out the motivations of the characters, but it was difficult because everyone was hiding something. While there is a bit of a cliffhanger ending, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the next book!

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 13

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