Jenn's Reviews > The Hollow

The Hollow by Nora Roberts
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May 23, 11

bookshelves: own, hardcover, review-written
Read in April, 2009

*** NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
I had a much harder time getting into this book than the first. Though it shares that musical tone of the first book, the pacing is much slower and the relationship between Fox and Layla was much more the focus of the book than the happenings with Twisse and the upcoming seven.

While I know the book is a romance and I enjoy the romantic interaction of the the two characters I find I like Roberts work much better when she focuses more on the outside plot, that of the the mysterious and paranormal than on just the romance.

The book does distinguish Fox and Layla more as individuals than the last book did. While in the first novel Cal and Fox seemed very similar in commentary and actions this book definitely distinguishes Fox as a separate character with different motivations and actions. He has a very different personality than Cal in this book which was not shown as well in the first books.

Some of the problems I had with this story were one the relationship between Fox and Layla was very slow going, very sensual loves scenes but none of the fast paced excitement in their relationship that Quinn and Cal had. I liked how the previous couple had that perfect mix of slow sensual and hot and racy, but didn't find that in this particular relationship. While I guess it's realistic because every relationship doesn't form or flow in the same way as another I'm a big fan of the unexpected racy heat so when I don't get that in a romance I'm a little disappointed. Also a lot of their relationship seemed like a cat and mouse game with Fox chasing and Layla hiding or running. While he's an easy going sort of character he mostly ran the show in their relationship and it's coming to be.

Layla herself was also a lot of the problem I had with the book because I had a lot of trouble relating to her as a character. I will give Roberts that throughout the book Layla shows a lot of character growth, becoming more courageous and risky, becoming more prepared for the upcoming threat it's hard for me to relate to a character that initially mousy. She's got all that New York Style and flair from the short hair cut to the trendy clothes which tells me from appearance this is going to be a confident, don't mess with me character but then you get to know her and it's more she's pushed into the situation and takes forever to even be sure she wants to be there. In one scene she becomes so frightened by images of snakes appearing in her shower that she passes out. So her appearance says one thing, but her actions say another which just doesn't really work for me as a reader. Her natural response seems to be flight instead of fight which makes me feel as a reader that this character is not at all prepared to face the oncoming threat of the seven. Even with all of her growth in the book and she does make tremendous growth in the book I still have trouble believing that this character is really ready to fight an ageless demon. She tries to organize and compartmentalize everything, and seems to think a battle with a demon can be won with colored coded note cards. This personality trait of hers as well I find a little annoying.

My final issue with the book is the flash back to Carly, a fiancé of Fox's who killed herself during the last seven while she was under possession of the demon. Now the idea of this is really wonderful in that is helps to show why Fox is the way he is, trying to put himself in front of the girl or the others protecting them before himself. It's an excellent idea in that way, but the dreams, the mention of this really personality shaping part of his history doesn't even occur until the middle of the book. It comes out of nowhere. And much of his behavior previous to this being mentioned doesn't really illustrate how this affected him. It shows after she mentioned it but as it's not really a new thing for him in the beginning of the book just new to the reader in the middle it should have been demonstrated throughout the book and mentioned in the prologue when we flash back to a different seven, though not the same seven as when this occurred. The seven we should have seen through Fox was the third seven, the seven where he lost someone so dear to him. Another thing that bothers me about this is the Layla helps to discover that the reason Carly was so susceptible even though she was an outsider is that she was a decedent of the relationship between Hester Deale and Twisse. Okay if she's easy to manipulate because of that why aren't Quinn, Layla and Cybil since they are descendants as well?

I still give the book four stars because one the overall series is a page turner and it does include some scenes, the ones where she deals with the overall rather than the individual that have you unable to put this books down. The ending where they reunite the three piece of the stone into one is definitely much more fulfilling than the ending of the first book where you're left thinking okay? What's next? She also continues to engage in the other characters in the series lives during this book as well. You start to see things heating up between Gage and Cybil through heated arguments and a passionate kiss in the middle of danger. You get the opportunity to join Quinn as she hunts for a wedding dress. There is also an exciting scene where each character is attacked individually simultaneously which leaves you wondering if any of them are ready to face the approaching threat. While not the best book in the series, it's still worth reading, if only to follow the battle between demon and guardian which continues throughout the trilogy.
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