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Hollow Earth (Hollow Earth #1)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,224 ratings  ·  262 reviews
Imagination matters most in a world where art can keep monsters trapped—or set them free.

Lots of twins have a special connection, but twelve-year-old Matt and Emily Calder can do way more than finish each other’s sentences. Together, they are able to bring art to life and enter paintings at will. Their extraordinary abilities are highly sought after, particularly by a secr
Paperback, UK edition, 336 pages
Published February 2nd 2012 by Buster Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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267th out of 380 books — 562 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Darren Hartwell
Usually when a celeb writes a book there is something of a fanfare but if there was a lot of hype running up to the release of this book then I missed it all. I only heard about it through my mother-in-law who mentioned that she has see John Barrowman talking about it in a TV interview. On the very next day we had several pupils ask if we were going to be buying it for the library. Feeling something of a failure I did a little online digging and contacted its publisher, Buster Books, who very ki ...more
Amber Ditullio
I first found John Barrowman through Doctor Who. He played the sexy, omni-sexual Captain Jack. I watched him through his appearances in that show and the spin-off show, Torchwood. I started looking up things about him online. And, recently, I picked up his first autobiography, Anything Goes. Reading it made me realize even more what a talented, funny and great man he was. And as I was looking for more things by or about him, I found that he and his sister, Carole, had written a YA Fantasy book. ...more
I loved this book. I admit to purchasing it because it had John Barrowman's name on the cover, but as soon as I started reading I was entranced by this book. It's a great read. I've read some of the other reviews saying it's the next Harry Potter... but I don't think there will be another Harry Potter. This instead is a great start to a new trilogy, and reminded me more of Under The Mountain by Maurice Gee than HP.
I read this book in one sitting, I couldn't put it down, and now that I've finishe
Martin Belcher
I don't normally read YA fiction, but I'm a big fan of John Barrowman and when I saw John and his sister, Carole discussing their new book Hollow Earth on TV Book Club on More4 Channel in UK, I was intrigued and wanted to give it a try.

Hollow Earth is a story about two impressively gifted children, twins, Matt and Emily Calder, they are Animares, people that can draw art which then comes to life. They can jump into their own artwork and bring creatures or objects they have drawn alive. Along wit
A good forty or more years ago we visited Great Cumbrae for the first and so far only time. It was winter, the New Year in fact, we were entirely inappropriately dressed (loons, for heaven’s sake!), we had meant to take the ferry to Arran but had come to the wrong port, and we were young and inexperienced. There was nothing to do but walk round the island (it kept us warm, at least!) and catch the ferry back to Largs, so that’s what we did. So it was a bit of a shock recently to pick up the Barr ...more
What a fun read. This book is aimed at 8-13 year olds, but I can say without shame that this 40+ loved it and not just because of John and Carole. A clever story, fun characters, interesting and fast-paced plot. Bad guys, good guys who are bad guys, bad guys who are good guys, etc. etc. What more does one need? For those who know John and Carole's world (real world)there are a ton of "Easter Eggs" hidden all over the story. I laughed out loud a the line "You're not my Mother!" If that is a head- ...more
John Barrowman is good at pretty much everything and I doubted he could write a decent children's novel, even with his sister's help. Apparently he can. The story is about twins Em and Matt who are animare and have the power to animate things they draw in real life. They're not the only ones though and there's lots of secret plots and you're not really sure who's good and who's bad.

It's a great universe they've created and the characters are hugely likeable. Occasionally the language is a littl
One thing I hate more than a book ending in a cliffhanger is when I don't have the next book in a series yet and have to wait so long until I can get it. Unfortunately, I can't find a copy of book 2 anywhere (This book didn't end in a cliffhanger, btw. It just felt like one to me. Haha.)
Kiirsi Hellewell
This book was a train wreck!! There could have been an interesting story or idea hidden under all the poor execution...but it was so badly written that I couldn't tell. Point of view shifted between characters in the SAME confusing! I could hardly ever tell when a certain character was speaking or thinking. There was a lot of telepathy going on, and most of the time, no indication as to who was doing the talking. I'm not sure what the point of having a deaf character was, because ...more
This is the kind of book I would have adored when I was 12. As an adult, I still found it well-written and enjoyable. It was creative enough to hold my attention, and I love the London and isles off of Scotland settings. The best part is that it really treats creativity and the arts with love and affection.
Midnight Rain Dragon
Hollow Earth introduces us to Matt and Em, twins with the ability to bring their drawings to life. Whilst the use of twin telepathy from the beginning with no introduction or explanation (I know lots of books and films use it, but I've never actually read anything that does before so it took a few lines before I realised that their telepathy was being treated as 'normal' because they were twins) annoyed me, I liked these two. Matt was your typical preteen boy- he was a bit rash sometimes which m ...more
Ms. Library
3 stars.

I wanted to like this so much more than I ended up liking it, but there were several issues that plagued the book.

I would like to talk about the concept first, and the fact that it was really interesting.

Em and Matt are twins, and they have special powers. They can make things come to life when they draw them, using the power of their imaginations. They can even go in and out of paintings. The Animare (or people who can animate paintings) are helped by Guardians, who help them keep th
Sara Grochowski
I picked up Hollow Earth because I loved the cover. Upon closer inspection, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it features twins... to be more exact, magic wielding twins who can manipulate artwork. I wasn't aware until after I'd read the novel (and absolutely adored it) that the half of the brother-sister author duo, John Barrowman, is well-known among Dr. Who and Torchwood fans from his role as Captain Jack Harkness. The remaining half of this writing team, Carole E. Barrowman, may al ...more
Jo Bennie
Nov 30, 2014 Jo Bennie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: b
13 year old twins Matt and Emily Calder are in the National Gallery in London and they are bored, it's summer, it's hot, their mother is talking to someone and they just want to go swimming. Seurat's Bathers at Asnieres is tormenting with them with its vision of people dozing in the sun on the banks of the Seine. They take out a drawing pad to entertain themselves, but these children are extraordinary. As they draw their picture it comes to life and they get the swim they wanted, and a world of ...more
So are Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone knock-off's their own gengre at this point? Pre-teen kids with amazing powers whisked-off from thier homes to amazing castles where wise old men teach them of their powers and inform them of their dangerous family history!

From a technical standpoint I have issues with this book. The writing just cannot seem to settle on a POV. Some pulpy tropes are tossed-out so quickly that you end up assuming the details (of course, if Zach can hear Em in his head,
Shiloh (Fantastic Reading)
I'm not giving this book any stars partly because I didn't finish it and partly because I'm not sure what I think of it.

I really wanted to like Hollow Earth, mostly because I'm a huge Barrowman fan and I think it's awesome that he's also contributing to literature, especially for children. Also, the concept was really interesting--people born with the ability to adjust reality with their art, other people who can help them control these abilities, and yet more people who want to lock the abiliti
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicky Foster
Well I didn't dislike it but I don't think I will pass it on to my 9 year old, it just didn't capture my imagination. By the end of the book the writing seemed very flat and I found I was reading the words without becoming involved in the story, which is never a good thing in a fantasy book. The characters had no humour or personality and just didn't seem to interact with each other as they should. I know this book is meant for a young audience but that doesn't mean that it should be dumbed down ...more
I got this book for under two dollars at the sale bin. I wasn't expecting much; I bought it because a.)Barrowman and b.)I was feeling rich.

Okay. I haven't finished it yet. I figured that if it has taken me this long, I might as well review it now before pigs start flying.

This is one of those books with those love-hate relationships. I love it, I really do, but...

Okay. This is done with lovely world-building in mind. (To be honest, I haven't gotten that far yet, but the mythology is there, and th
Having dispensed with Portland's "Everybody Reads" book, I moved along to the "Everybody Reads" book for Wauwatosa, WI, which I had seen on display at a bookshop over Christmas. This book turned out to be a delightful little romp, though that was not my first impression.

As a fan of Harry Potter and Thursday Next, it follows that I would enjoy a book like this, which melds fantasy with a smidge of magical realism. The concept is brilliant, especially to an adult who enjoys art museums and mythol
Matt H.
Setting is one of the key elements that keeps me interested in a story, and the setting here is brilliant. I love both the London scenes and the Scottish isles scenes. The descriptions of the abbey and the various coves helped me visualize what the characters see. I easily saw myself among these characters in these places.

The magic system is confusing to me. I get that the twins are somewhat unique in having blended magic, but I did not follow why/how they were able to call upon their magic when
Did the name John Barrowman sound familiar to you? Then you might know him from Doctor Who, Torchwood or Arrow!? He must have a wicked imagination, I thought. And when I found out he wrote this book with his sister Carole, who happens to be a teacher (English & Creative writing), it had to work, right?!

Hollow Earth - "a place where all the devils, demons and monsters ever imagined lie trapped for eternity", starts at the the monastery of Era Mina on Auchinmurn Isle, where an old monk was il
I realize that this book was not written for people my age, and so I didn't have huge expectations, but since I do tend to enjoy the occasional light children's fantasy novel, I did expect to somewhat enjoy it. And I guess I mostly did?

As other reviewers have pointed out, this is a huge book for its target audience. I think that the sheer size and the simple plot don't play off one another well, and cause the book to drag. A lot. By the end of the book it was becoming a chore to read, which irke
Qualcuno ha definito questa storia "la versione scozzese di Harry Potter". Posto che in Harry Potter ci sia poco di nuovo e innovativo e tanto materiale preso dall'immaginario collettivo britannico, si capisce subito come risulti riduttiva una simile affermazione. A ben vedere, se c'è qualcosa che accomuna i due libri è la loro nascita, concepita durante un viaggio, tanto per la Rowling quanto per i fratelli Barrowman (il televisivo John, volto del Capitano Jack Harkness e la meno nota sorella C ...more
Twelve-year-old twins Matt and Emily share a special bond, a magical one where what they draw comes to life – at least as long as they are in the same room. Their precociousness has gotten them into trouble and with their mother they have fled to an island off the coast of Scotland. Temporarily safe they soon find themselves fighting off members of the Hollow Earth society, people who want to use the twins powers to release all the monsters in our hollow earth.
While not perfect, I found this bo
This is more of a 3.5 stars for me.

I really enjoyed this book, but I did have to force myself to pick this one back up, because the first half of it was rather boring. The last 200 pages really had me interested in the plot and the mystery, but beyond that it just didn't touch me that much.

However, it did have some really good moments that I did enjoy quite a bit, so I will buy the sequel to this.
Joseph Phillips (BookolioBlog)
This book begins on Era Mina, a made-up island in the Scotland.
It introduces us to an Old Monk and an Apprentice, the Old Monk is writing something called ‘The Book of Beasts”.
Being an old monk, he dosed off quite suddenly and allowed his imagination to wander; because of this, a drawing on the page suddenly sprung out and started to fly off.
The monk woke up and caught the animated drawing and put it back into the paper, he looked over to see that his young apprentice noticed the whole event.
Jennifer Lauren Collins
Built from art and adventure, and full of fantasy and magic, this is one of those YA fantasies that will have you searching out the sequel moments after you've read it. The Barrowmans have created such engaging characters, and such an intriguing and fully built world, that it's difficult to believe this is only the first book in the series.

Centered on twins with a mysterious set of parents and abilities they're still learning to maneuver, the book takes on a compelling landscape, full with quest
Shannon O'Donnell
FANTASTIC! I loved this book! It is filled-to-bursting with mystery and suspense, fabulous characters, and an amazing storyline that had the writer in me drooling. Wow. This is without question one of my favorite reads of 2013 so far. If you are a fan of MG fantasy and adventure, DO NOT MISS this one!!
Jul 26, 2014 Heather marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Matt and Emily Calder are twins with a special connection. When they draw together, the things they imagine can come to life. When a secret society called Hollow Earth wants to use them to access the nightmare world of demons they believe exists in a realm under the earth, they are forced to flee their home in London and go to their grandfather's estate on a remote island off the coast of Scotland. There they learn more about their powers, and their father, who disappeared when the twins were sm ...more
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I was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, which explains my inherent cheekiness and my sophisticated sarcasm gene. In the late seventies, my family immigrated to America where I've made a career out of my passions: reading, writing, and teaching.

I've written five books in collaboration with my brother, John Barrowman, and we're working on #6.

I'm an English professor and Director of Creative Stud
More about Carole E. Barrowman...

Other Books in the Series

Hollow Earth (3 books)
  • Bone Quill (Hollow Earth, #2)
  • The Book of Beasts (Hollow Earth, #3)
I Am What I Am Exodus Code (Torchwood, #19) Bone Quill (Hollow Earth, #2) Torchwood: The Selkie Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It

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