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Hollow Empire

(Poison War #2)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  263 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Moving from poison and treachery to war and witchcraft, Sam Hawke's Poison Wars continue with Hollow Empire, a fabulous epic fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Robin Hobb, Naomi Novik, and Scott Lynch.

Poison was only the beginning.... The deadly siege of Silasta woke the ancient spirits, and now the city-state must find its place in this new world of magic. But people a
Paperback, 560 pages
Published December 1st 2020 by Tor Books
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review.

An incredibly well-polished and absorbing sequel; out of all the books and series I’ve read this year, Hollow Empire is quite likely THE sequel that has the most significant improvement in overall quality over its predecessor.

Yes, I know what I just said can be considered an insane statement, especially because I’ve read so many magnificent sequ
Nick Borrelli
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sam Hawke's debut novel City of Lies was a revelation and absolutely one of my favorite reads of 2018. It was a perfect blend of suspense, treachery, and court politics that I found a breath of fresh air from the usual battle-frenzied epic fantasy. After I was finished reading it I couldn't wait for more Poison War books because the story was just so good and infectious. So when I received an advance copy of HOLLOW EMPIRE a few weeks ago, I was more excited than I can tell you. I'm happy to say ...more
Anna Stephens
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been waiting for the sequel to City of Lies with extreme excitement and I can promise you right now - it does not disappoint!
It has everything that CoL had - intrigue and mystery and a nameless, faceless enemy hellbent on destruction, and yet if possible, it adds EVEN MORE to this heady mix, bringing in new elements and old enemies and personal grudges in a way that means every chapter feels like a mystery has begun or been solved - and yet there's always one more.
The characterisation, wor
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with City of Lies, Hollow Empire is a compelling mix of original characterisation, intricate diplomacy, and whodunnit, topped with a dash of magic. In this instalment, Sam Hawke succeeds in enhancing all the things that made the first book so appealing whilst also extending the worldbuilding and upping the tension. The two protagonists, Kalina and Jov, are damaged by what they experienced before, but still determined to do what it takes to save their friends and their city. Importantly, their ...more
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Hollow Empire opens up the world as readers dive into the political machinations now afoot two years after the events of City of Lies. Jovan and Kalina was still responsible for the safety of the leaders, though despite their efforts and successes in City of Lies, doubt still surrounds them.

What I enjoyed most about Hollow Empire was the widening of the world and the expansion of the magic system. Readers are introduced to a variety of different leaders and diplomats as the story kicks off with
Udy Kumra
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-fiction
5 stars. This book was somehow even better than the first. I expected to cry at the end, which I did, but I did NOT expect to cry halfway through. That was a pleasant surprise. Author has said that Tor probably doesn’t want more books in the series because it didn’t sell well, which is said, but regardless, this book cements this series as one of my favorites of all time.
I read City of Lies around this time last year, and while I liked it, I didn’t love it. However, I remember thinking that Sam Hawke was a debut author with a lot of talent, and someone to watch out for as they released more work.

And I was (thankfully) right. Hollow Empire picks up two years after City of Lies finished, with Jovan and Kalina still muddling their way through the consequences of the siege of Silasta and figuring out how to put the broken pieces of their country back together, whil
Unseen Library
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of Hollow Empire from Penguin Random House Australia to review.

After a two year wait, we finally get to see the epic sequel to Australian author Sam Hawke’s impressive debut novel, City of Lies, with her blockbuster new novel, Hollow Empire.

Two years after the siege of the city of Silasta, where the oppressed Darfri minority where manipulated into attacking the capital by an unknown outside force, the city has started to recover. While the city focuses on rebuilding and reconci
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I loved this book even more than the first one.

Hollow Empire, the second entry to the Poison Wars series, is a compulsively readable sequel that truly masters keeping the reader at the edge of their seat. The book as a whole is cleverly crafted as the author balances political intrigue, careful worldbuilding, and suspenseful mysteries in deft measures.

We return to our protagonists and the city of Silasta more than two years after the end of the siege in City of Lies. Necessary steps were
Juliano Dutra
Dec 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
DNF at 24%.
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5/5 - *incoherent screaming*
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This and more reviews at!~

This is the (continuing) story of Jovan and Kalina Oromani, who are nobles in the city of Silasta. Since the events of City of Lies, life has for the most part gone on. Jovan has taken on an apprentice proofer (poison taster), Kalina has thankfully recovered from things that occurred, and Tain Iliri is doing his best at being chancellor, despite his health being in somewhat of a decline since those events.

When strange things begin happening, and the
Ash | Wild Heart Reads
I have been anticipating Hollow Empire ever since I finished City of Lies and it was worth every second of waiting. Two years after the siege that almost destroyed Silasta the scars, both physical and mental, continue to ache for the survivors. The city has done it's best to move forward into a new future for all citizens but the peace, it seems, is only surface deep. Old enemies and new make moves in the shadows, intent on tearing down the city in its moment of glory.

Hollow Empire is a fantasti
Jack Heath
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Jovan and Kalina Oromani are brother and sister, sworn to protect the Chancellor of Silasta. This is a difficult job, as the Chancellor's kindness borders on naivete, and he has many enemies - some political, some personal. Despite - or perhaps because of - their various heroic deeds in City of Lies, the Oromanis have enemies of their own, and so does Silasta itself. For that reason, when Jovan is attacked by someone who attempts to frame him for murder, it's unclear not only who the attacker is ...more
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hollow Empire is the second book in Sam Hawke’s series of books ‘The Poison Wars’ and takes place two years after the events of the first book.

When City of Lies ended I found myself with more questions than the book answered, with Jovan & Kalina as perplexed as I was as to the reasons why the events of the first book took place. I knew there was more to the story and Sam Hawke skillfully left me hanging with a cliffhanger, and in this, the second book, Hawke answers this question and the reason
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: f-f
ARC provided by publisher.

4.5 stars.

My most anticipated sequel for this year sort of blew me away. The first book is such an intelligent political mystery that I wasn’t sure if the sequel could stand toe to toe with it, but I finished it feeling like I’d just run a very emotional marathon. I went from heavy breathing, to full blown sobbing, to elated exhaustion within the final 20 pages.

Beware spoilers for City of Lies.

Hollow Empire takes place two years after the siege of the first book, and n
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
On my blog.

Actual rating 4.5

Rep: non-white cast, bi mc with OCD, lesbian mc with chronic pain, lesbian li, bi side character, nonbinary side character

CWs: violence, gore

Galley provided by publisher

Hollow Empire is a book I have been anticipating since December last year, and a book I was doubly anticipating ever since I found out that it’s sapphic. And it was so so good that all I want to do is go back and reread both books.

I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but Hollow Empi
Liz Barnsley
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Sam Hawke’s much anticipated follow up to City Of Lies does not disappoint- Diving back into the action some time after the events of its predecessor, we find a much changed city. But underneath the rebuilding lies political turmoil and an unknown enemy, subtle and insidious, undermining progress in every way.

I loved this again. The world building is truly extraordinary, in Hollow Empire the author expands that outwards, creating a wider understanding of the differing cultures that sets the scen
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kidnapping, backstabbing, and of course, poisoning. And as much as I love the writing connected to the intrigue, it is the personal lives of these characters that keep me reading this series. Hawke’s attention to detail… it’s not just the physical fights that Jovan and Tain and Kalina are fighting, but that mental stress and anxiety that this strife brings. She has produced several of the most realistic characters in contemporary fantasy lit.

Please get started on The Poison War series, pronto! A
Elizabeth Fitzgerald
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I decided to revive the Earl Grey Editing blog, I’d originally intended to resume at the beginning of 2021: a new year, a new start. Then I heard that Hollow Empire was being released in December and I knew I couldn’t wait. City of Lies was such a stunning debut that I needed to get my hands on the sequel ASAP.

Two years have passed since the siege of Silasta. On the surface, the city has healed. Tensions still exist between the Darfri and the Silastans, but work is being done to bridge the
shri (sunandchai)
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Lia (An Ode to Fiction)
Gonna update soon with my review! :)

Update 3/12/20

4.95/5 stars

Official Release Date : 26th November 2020 (UK) & 1st December 2020 (US)

"You never get used to poisoning a child.”

TW : death, gore, violence

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

An intoxicating sequel to end all sequels I’ve read this year; Hollow Empire is the stunning continuation to a fantastic debut City o
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hollow Empire is the second book in Sam Hawke's Poison Wars series, and one I had been waiting to read for a while. I had enjoyed Sam's first book, and was curious to see where she would take her story, and for the most part I was not let down. Hollow Empire combines elements of a mystery, regional politics, feuding families and strained relationships with just a whiff of the magical, and it works well.

Starting off a few years after the events of Lies, we reunite with Kalina and Jov (and a litt
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
This has easily been my most anticipated book of 2020. And yes, that’s with more Murderbot and Empire of Gold and other also excellent titles. And while Murderbot has my heart, the Poison Wars series has my soul because all of the characters are just so vital to me. I’m a mix of what Kalina and Jov struggle with most – health and compulsions – and seeing them out there managing to save the lives of themselves and others, do what’s best for their kingdom, and still care for those important to the ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So that was a pretty wild ride.

This sequel to City of Lies ramps up the action and intrigue in all the best ways. Where the threat in the first book was overt, here the antagonist remains shrouded in conspiracy for ages, making for a tense main storyline. The plot also includes more relatable elements for a modern audience: (view spoiler). Overall, the game is being played on a more compl
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A gripping tale that blends magic and conspiracy, poison and suspicion, love and hatred.

The political tension runs even deeper than in the first book, as the council of Silasta tries to show the city has recovered from the civil uprising and are still a beacon of modernity and prosperity. A prideful council ignores our the warnings of our Oromani heroes, refusing to believe there are still enemies lurking in the shadows beyond (and possibly within) the city's walls. Once again, Jovan and Kalina,
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
The mystery level here and tension in the writing just went up 1000% as compared to the first. I wasn't overly fond of the first novel but gave this a go based on goodread reviews. It really had everything the first novel had and more. It still felt like a slow burn at times but the pacing which was my issue with the first had been modified. Characters were even more distinguishable. I felt in the first, both POVs felt too similar but here you can feel the differences. If you struggled with the ...more
C.L. Clark
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book--and really, both books in this series--do so many things well. I cannot go into them all at the moment, but I will say that I adore the twists and turns, the characters, especially the familial relationships, and the world of poisons in the little vignettes between chapters. Excellent audiobook performance by the narrators as well.
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
What the hell just HAPPENED??? That ending was a rollercoaster
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Excellent sequel! Eagerly counting on a third book 🙂
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Goodreads Librari...: Combining books into series 3 27 Aug 29, 2018 01:16PM  

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I have wanted to write books ever since realising as a child that they didn’t just breed between themselves in libraries. Having contemplated careers as varied as engineer, tax accountant and zookeeper I eventually settled on the law. After marrying my jujitsu training partner and travelling to as many countries as possible on very little budget, I now live in Canberra, Australia, raising two smal ...more

Other books in the series

Poison War (2 books)
  • City of Lies (Poison Wars, #1)

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