Greetings bloggers! First up I apologise for my lack of activity – this past month has been absolutely MENTAL. I turned 21 on Sunday and graduated from Lancaster University on Tuesday, an incredible day, and the few weeks before that were taken up with loads of drinking and chilling with my amazing best friends. I’m so, so upset to be back in the South and away from all of them – but I should now have a bit more time to blog! This, and my job search are my main two priorities. So to set things off once again, I have a review of a novel that was sent to me by the author for review: Rarity From the Hollow by Robert Eggleton.
Robert sent me a pdf. copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Goodreads summary: Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn’t great. But Lacy has one advantage — she’s been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to her to save the Universe.
Will Lacy Dawn’s predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?
Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children’s story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.
Going against the grain of my usual reviews, I’m going to start with the negatives on this one. My reasoning for this is that the parts of the book I think let it down are not the usual sections one would expect. Generally I find that novels can fail when they have a fantastic start and fantastic ending, with nothing going for it in the middle, but with Rarity From the Hollow I found the opposite. I thought the start was slow and most of its content were a matter of necessity rather than enjoyment, and the pace of the novel does not pick up until the family’s first visit to DotCom’s home planet, ShpTilUDrp. Here the world building and the points of interest pick up massively, and I started to get properly sucked into the story – I’ll touch on that again later. Sadly however I did not feel the ending lived up to this. The majority of the novel is focused on ‘diagnosis’ of the Universe’s illness (essentially a whole load of stabs in the dark and strangely lucky guesses), and the solution at the ending then seems blindingly obvious and rushed. I wasn’t even sure of the relevance of the problem for Lacy Dawn and her planet. These failings, alongside the heavy sections of info-dumping, make some points of the novel very difficult to press on with.
However as I mentioned, although I struggled with much of the information heavy description I found the shopping elements of the novel to be very interesting as a commentary on modern capitalist society. These parts of the novel were the most fun and showed the strongest sense of world-building. The fantastical elements drew on the escapist fantasies of a child suffering from abuse, and the psychological undercurrents were so harrowing and what I would see as accurate. Lacy Dawn’s obsession with DotCom and showing him her panties, and her sense of guilt and responsibility for fixing her parents reminds the reader of our protagonist’s naivety: the idealistic overnight ‘fix’ of her parents is a dead giveaway here. Aside from Lacy Dawn, I thought most of the characters were well constructed, though obviously completely unlikable. Jenny in particular I think I should have felt sorry for, but she was the most irritating part of the novel.
Now to refer to a specific part of the novel – In his email containing the pdf format of the book, the author asked me to comment upon an early comment in the novel in which a child confesses to having seen their parents having sex. The concern was that this inclusion was too soon to introduce to the reader, however in my view this comment did not stick out at all. The whole novel is fraught with these brutal, frank references to abuse – One may as well start from the beginning so that the reader is completely aware of what they are getting themselves into!
To conclude, it took a little while but I did eventually get sucked into this book. I wouldn’t exactly class it as enjoyable but if you can overlook the shortcomings it is definitely worth a read. All proceeds are given to organisations that directly deal with impoverished or abused children in crisis, so I would urge everyone to look the novel up on Amazon. We need books like this, but I’m not sure who really wants to read them.
What do you guys think? Have you read anything like this before?