fantasy · Reviews

ARC Review: A Dark and Hollow Star | Ashley Shuttleworth

A Dark and Hollow Star (A Dark and Hollow Star #1) | Ashley Shuttleworth

Page count: 512

Publication date: February 23, 2021

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genres: YA, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal


The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones in this thrilling urban fantasy set in the magical underworld of Toronto that follows a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes could expose the hidden world of faeries to humans.

Choose your player.

The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.
A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.
A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.
The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.

For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts—until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.

Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?

Wish them luck. They’re going to need it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

This was a buddy read with the ultimate buddy reading partners, Katie @ Whispering Pages and (occasionally) Lia @ Chain of Novels!

This was amazing. I mean, I expected it to be good but wow. I’ve read glowing reviews by some of my friends, and let me tell you–it’s all true! Honestly, the only reason I didn’t rate this book five stars is that I just about never rate the first book in a series five stars. It’s just not enough time for me to really fall in love with the characters and world as much as I could have!

When I first read the blurb for this book I was taken aback. Comparing it to City of Bones AND The Cruel Prince? But let me tell you–it’s right. It is definitely like those two books! We have a fantastic cast in an urban fantasy setting (City of Bones) and a detailed system of faeries and magic that are hidden from the human world (The Cruel Prince)! Just a side note, but this is probably one of the first times a book has actually been anything like the popular books that it’s compared to.

If you’ve read any reviews about this book, the main thing that people are stealing about are the characters. AS THEY SHOULD. The characters in this book were AMAZING! Like I said earlier, this book was likened to City of Bones for its large cast (and urban fantasy.) This story is told by four POVs. Sounds exhausting. But somehow it isn’t! All the characters have very distinctive voices and it’s easy to tell them apart.

Our main cast mostly breaks off into two distinct groups: Nausicaä and Arlo are the first and Aurelian and Vehan are the second. Nausicaä took a while to grow on me, but I loved Arlo right away. Out of all the characters I’m probably the most like Arlo, so that was fun to see! Nausicaä is not my kind of character at all. Maybe it’s just that I’m too much of a Hufflepuff to appreciate her Slytherin-ness. But she grew on me over the course of the book and now I like her! She’s not my favorite of the four, but I definitely like and appreciate her.

Aurelian and Vehan are more of a secondary pairing, as Arlo is the main main character. BUT THEY’RE MY FAVORITE. Aurelian is so sweet and I love seeing what’s going on in his head! But Vehan. Vehan is just the best. I don’t know why, seeing as he probably got the least amount of page time, but VEHAN IS MY BABY CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE.

Quick shoutout to Celadon for being everything! He’s main character material. Please please please more Celadon next book. 🥺

I enjoyed this book so much! You bet I’ll be trolling NetGalley for book two when it’s the time! I hope you give this a read because it was AMAZING.

12 thoughts on “ARC Review: A Dark and Hollow Star | Ashley Shuttleworth

      1. Wellll… Have you ever heard of Ghibli studios? Well, the guy who kinda started that (Hayao Miyazaki) wrote this book called Nausicaa, it’s a graphic novel and has incredible withholding and storytelling. The main character is named Nausicaa, and both the book(s) and the movie are named after her… It’s always been one of my favorites, despite being a graphic novel.

        Liked by 1 person

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