HOLLOWLAND by Amanda Hocking-a review
HOLLOWLAND by Amanda Hocking
HOLLOWLAND is Amanda Hocking’s first instalment in the Hollows series. Written in the Urban Fantasy genre (with some horror thrown in for the fun of it), Hollowland follows 19 year old Remy King in the search for her 8 year old brother Max. Set against the zombie-ridden wastelands of America, Hollowland introduces a cast of characters that quickly succumbed to the zombie virus or were determined to keep their rag-tag family of misfits together, for all time.
It has been one long year, since the first zombie infested human turned. Remy King and her brother have been quarantined along with hundreds of other virus-free humans for months. Military personnel control the quarantined areas like prisons- no one enters-no one leaves, but when her 8year old brother Max is suddenly removed and held in another facility, Remy takes it upon herself, to find where her brother is held. But the zombies have started to form groups-they are now working cohesively together, as though they have an agenda. As the quarantined area is overrun with zombies, Remy knows she must make her escape if she is to find Max.
So, with two unwelcome companions, 13 year old Harlow and Sommer, Remy sets out into the vast wasteland, that can only be described as post-apocalyptic. Throughout the storyline, zombies surge en-masse towards the virus-free humans looking for ‘fresh meat’. A scratch or a bite from a zombie will render the human-persona non-grata-to be left behind or killed, to prevent further infestation. Remy loses many of her friends and most of her family to the ‘lyssavirus’ mutated rabies virus, but she is determined, to reach her brother Max. The character of Remy at times appears distant, without emotion, but perhaps she has seen too many deaths in the past 12 months. But a foray into an abandoned house, finds not only canned food and bottled water, but other survivors-Blue, a 20 something med –student and Lazlo, a 19 year old rock star, who at times is as useless as an umbrella in a hurricane.
The small group of survivors plods forward, heading north to find Max. Town after town of abandoned and destroyed homes, greets the lonely –but the residual smell of death, decay and rotting corpses fills their senses with fear. Moving closer to Las Vegas, or what is left of the ‘city that never sleeps’ they are continuously under attack from zombies and marauding bands of survivors. Hoping to find help, they fall into the hands of a religious cult leader and his minions, only to escape with a few more survivors, willing to risk their lives on the mission to find Max. Remy and her band meet London, a survivor who has set up a quarantined area, complete with shelter, food and running water, but Remy is determined to complete her mission. So with heavy heart, and a few friends lighter, Remy continues north in search of the military area that is now home to her brother.
At times, Remy’s relationship with the others is cold and distant, but her heart will soften as love encroaches into her life. But Remy blames herself for the deaths of many of her companions and some of the people they have met along the way. But after a violent attack by zombies, where Remy is injured, and a rescue mission by the very people holding her brother, Remy’s only thought is to save Max.
As new members of the quarantined area, the small band of friends, must participate in the daily community life, but Remy finds a hero in Tatum, a military guard, who along with Blue and Lazlo, help Remy gain entrance into the facility where her brother is no longer quarantined, but held prisoner in a game of ‘saving the world from extinction’.
Hollowland has its’ moments. The editing is poor, there are plenty of spelling errors and missing words, but the original release is self-published. The grammatical errors etc, do not take away from the storyline, but the poor editing is a nuisance.
The premise is interesting, but familiar– A heroine who won’t listen and risks the lives of everyone to reach her final destination. The fight scenes are at most, impossible to survive or even choreograph, but somehow Remy makes it through—after all, it is a fantasy. Some fascinating friends, a love interest and an unlikely ‘kindred’ guardian in Ripley, allow for some unexpected twists, but overall I liked Hollowland. There is no HEA, as the heroine finds herself trapped in a world, she was trying to avoid, but her goal was to find her brother Max. The familiar storyline is predictable, but the plot twists make the story interesting and worth the read. Next on the agenda: Hollowmen—6 months after.
HOLLOWLAND is FREE from most ebook outlets.
Reviewed by Sandy