DISCLAIMER: I received Emilie and the Hollow World as a publisher ARC through Strange Chemistry in exchange for my honest review.
My rating: 3.5 Stars
Emilie and the Hollow World was a great read. I don’t regret one second spent reading this book. It didn’t take me long to read at all because it kept me interested every page.
The book starts out with a bang, we follow Emilie as she steals aboard the Merry Bell as she is running away from her uncle and aunt. She boards the ship by mistake, originally intending to stow away on another vessel. We are quickly engulfed in magic and transported, along with the crew, to a world-within-a-world like destination.
The novel reads as an adventure. The cast of the book is met with one challenge at a time as they stride to their eventual goal. It is a really good read that is worth the time you will put into it, but it did fall short in that I wasn’t blown away by it. It wasn’t a book that I just couldn’t put down, but at the same time, I never didn’t want to pick it up again.
If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be relatable. This book is easy to understand with a heroine you can really imagine in yourself. Emilie is strong-willed, but not pushy. She understands the extent of her knowledge and is willing to sit back and learn rather than insert herself into an issue.
There are deeper issues that are addressed in the book, in the Victorian world that it takes place, sexism is a common theme. The protagonists combat that in the best way possible. Two of the main characters, Emilie and Lady Marlende, are women. The way the author approaches this is very professional, the women aren’t looked down upon, but are given less opportunity to advancement. While Emilie seems to have accepted her place in the world, Lady Marlende is a tough cookie who doesn’t take that crap. She stands her ground and Emilie soon follows. Lady Marlende is definitely a winning character, she wins my favorite vote.
Sadly, the world building is where the novel suffered a bit, it could have used more depth. While reading the book, I didn’t feel like I was transported to another world, which is normally my favorite part of alter-reality novels. While the world was creative enough, not enough description is given about the setting. We aren’t told wether a place is supposed to be dark or light, forboding or inviting, etc. Things are explained in character conversation instead of the context of the book, and in that way it took away from the magic of the novel. I felt like I was reading a diary or memoir instead of a fiction novel.
To conclude my review, I suggest this book for the adventurous types, who don’t like to waste time on romance. It is a quick, fun, read that you won’t feel you’ve wasted time on.