Seven years ago, Iris Hollow and her two older sisters disappeared from the streets of Edinburgh. They returned, transformed, a month later, with shocking white hair and their beautiful blue eyes now dark. Their parents’ relief quickly turned to suspicion as it became clear the sisters didn’t just look different; they now wielded the ability to force people to do their bidding.
These days, Iris is finishing up high school while middle sister Vivi tours Europe with her punk rock band and the oldest, Grey, has become a fashion designer and model known for her outlandish, almost grotesque creations. When Grey vanishes without a trace, Iris and Vivi search for her, joined by Grey’s delightful and charming boyfriend, Tyler. But the search soon becomes a race for their lives when they realize they’re being hunted by a dangerous, otherworldly figure.
Australian-born British author Krystal Sutherland blends elements of detective fiction, fairy tales and horror in House of Hollow. Iris’ first-person narration gives the book a gorgeous but often dark feel that’s buoyed by witty banter between Vivi and Tyler, which cuts the tension and provides necessary levity. As the search for Grey grows increasingly frantic and desperate, Sutherland excellently conveys the way Iris and her sisters are bound not just by family ties but also by the trauma they shared when they were younger.
Readers who enjoy fantasy books with contemporary or urban settings such as Holly Black’s Folk of the Air series or Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood will find much to enjoy here. Sutherland’s lush, gruesome prose, a sinister Scottish woodland setting and the powerful yet destructive role of magic combine for a truly chilling tale. Pick this up before bedtime, if you dare.