Thursday, 2 February 2012

Review: Hollow Pike by James Dawson

Hollow Pike by James Dawson
Released: 2nd February 2012
Publisher: Indigo
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads description:

Something wicked this way comes... She thought she'd be safe in the country, but you can't escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her. Lis thinks she's being paranoid - after all who would want to murder her? She doesn't believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn't believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you're alone in the woods, after dark - and a twig snaps... Hollow Pike - where witchcraft never sleeps

My thoughts: 

It's clear that James used to be a teacher. The teenage voices are the authentic creations of someone who has clearly spent a lot of time around them and I really appreciated that about Hollow Pike. It added a level of realism that can sometimes be lacking. The characters all had fully-formed personalities and unique voices in their own rights--though I especially liked Delilah and Jack.  I loved how NORMAL the love interest was. He was just a guy. A cute, intelligent guy, but still. A guy. There was no overly detailed, riddled with adjectives passages about how he was the most mysterious, most attractive most amazing boy in the world and how could she ever live without him. It was a perfectly normal teenage romance and I loved it. 

It was wonderful to read a book set in England (and in the North, wahay!)  and written by an English (and Norther, wahay!) author. It feels somehow more down-to-earth for me than all the American books I read. The setting of Hollow Pike in rural Yorkshire was suitably creepy, and whilst I've never visited Yorkshire (apart from York) I could definitely imagine myself there.

The plot was SO clever. I loved all the witchcraft references, how Lis didn't believe them, and what was actually going on in the atmospheric little town I love how Lis' dreams fitted in to the eventual explanation and once everything was revealed I couldn't help but wonder how I'd never figured it out, it was wonderfully misleading. I think I suspected EVERYONE at one point or another.  The book was fast-paced and tight, I never found my mind wandering or wanting to flick through the pages to get to the action. 

One thing that did bug me was Lis herself. Having suffered bullying at her old school, before her move to her sister's, she was naturally going to be a little fragile. And yet, whilst she stood upto Laura, a bully who represented everything that had forced her to leave her home in the first place, she wanted to run away from what was happening in Hollow Pike. I just didn't understand that. How she could be so strong in the face of one thing that scared her, and yet so weak in another. Plus she was actually going to ABANDON her friends in favour of saving her own life. That just really didn't wash with me. I definitely found Lis to be a bit of a sap, and much preferred the secondary characters. 

This is a fantastic debut, well written and teeming with clever references, witty lines and colourful characters that I fully appreciated. Bang on trend with its witchcraft-y elements and sporting a stunning, eye-catching cover, it's perfect for anyone who loves paranormal YA, but is looking for something just a little bit different. 


  1. Oh I LOVE those kind of mysteries.... how when you finally work it out, you're kicking yourself because you know you should have gotten it earlier! Add to that witchcraft (I'm in love already), authentic teenage voices and as you so clearly state - a NORMAL guy haha, I am completely sold on this :D

    I'd been anticipating it anyway, but yours is the first review and now I'm fully pumped to get my hands on a copy!! Thanks, Cait!

  2. I liked that Danny was just normal too! Their relationship had that awkwardness to it that made it seem more realistic :P. I quite liked Lis, but I agree that she could be a bit of a sap. And the plot was definitely clever! Didn't see the ending coming. Great review :).

  3. Can't wait to read this one! i didn't even realise it was set in the North. Not enough books are!

  4. K, clever plot, believable teens, believable guy teen? Yeah, I'm going to have to read this one. Love the cover too!

  5. Seriously awesome review! I haven't heard too much about this book but I'll definitely have to look into it. I love books about small towns and witchcraft. Thanks for the review!


Thanks to blogger making it easy for us to reply to comments I will now be replying where possible, so if you comment be sure to check back! =]