Book Review: Hollow Heathens by Nicole Fiorina

Title: Hollow Heathens
Series: (Tales of Weeping Hollow #1)
Author: Nicole Fiorina
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Genre: NA, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis

Once upon a time, there lived a girl named Fallon who was taken far away from home shortly after she was born. 
A home that held more than strange traditions and bizarre superstitions.
Twenty-four years later, she returned to Weeping Hollow, a town she’d only heard about in stories during restless nights under a marble moon, in the middle of the night to take care of her last living relative. 
They called the nosy mortician a freakshow–a ghastly thing.
They said I couldn’t go near her.
Still, there was this aching pull to Fallon Grimaldi that I couldn’t escape.
A nostalgic pull as if we’d been here before.

Once upon a time, there lived a mysterious boy named Julian with a curse as old as centuries wrapped around his soul. 
He was one of the four Hollow Heathens, the very dark creatures who caused the town’s people to live in fear. 
And the Blackwell name was stained with darkness and death.
They called him a monster. Cold and hollow.
They said I shouldn’t go near him.
Still, there was this aching pull to Julian Blackwell that I couldn’t escape.
A nostalgic pull as if we’d been here before.


Review

When I first read the synopsis I thought I was going to be reading this super dark and scary story that would keep me up at night. Instead I got a beautifully written gothic love story that did make me question the shadows for a bit. I couldn’t put it down and I didn’t want to.

Hollow Heathens was this perfectly crafted story about love, lies and magic set against this romantic gothic backdrop. The world building was incredible and I can’t wait to explore Weeping Hollow further in the next books. Think Stars Hollow: Magic Edition or Forks, Washington but with feuding covens. For a small town it felt huge and there is still so much to discover. I was drawn to it’s small town vibes and the community that attempted to live harmoniously.

Fallon was a total bada** without even knowing it. Never changing herself for anyone despite her struggles with other people. She never let it jade her into being an awful person. I do feel like her personality got a tad lost at times within the love story, but like the strong and stubborn woman she is she always managed to pull it together at the right moments.

Julian was an enigma. Actually the Hollow Heathens as a whole were. I could never get a good read on them nor the pressures they faced from their coven. That all still feels like a mystery to me, but Julian was a heathen with a managed heart deserving of love. He didn’t chose the hand he was dealt but did his best to honor his magic and lead his people. A leader with a kind yet misunderstood heart. I swooned and hard. Dark, sexy, sweet and only eyes for his girl? Sign me up please.

Fallon and Julian made my heart hurt, each shunned and put down for things they can’t control. They have a lifetime of hurt, of being outcasts, until they find each other. Cue the forbidden romance It’s not an easy journey though with a ton of obstacles standing in their way. I loved their stolen moments and how I felt like an interloper in them while also simultaneously not being able to look away. I of course wish for more of those moments (smutty and cute) but am content with how their story ended.

There are still quite a few things in this book that I don’t quite understand though. It all seemed very low stakes until all of a sudden it wasn’t. It felt very much like a fever dream, real or not real? It was just how Weeping Hollow was though and with Fallon not having grown up there and most of the book being from her perspective, we kinda lose the rivalry between covens and how their power is divided. It was seen in Julian’s perspective a bit and I think that dual POV did help to balance the story. I do hope the intricacies of the two covens is explored more in the next books.

To say I loved this book would be an understatement. It’s one I see myself rereading for years to come and from the moment I met the Hollow Heathens, I knew each was going to get their own story (Team Phoenix and Fable 4ever!). We’ve just barely scratched the surface with this new world and I can’t wait to explore it more while also meeting new characters and seeing old ones grow in the background. In the meantime I’ll just be immersing myself in the Hollow Heathens playlist and day dreaming about Julian.

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