Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

Hollowland (The Hollows, #1)
by Amanda Hocking 

Genre: Horror/Zombie Apocalypse
Reading Grade: New Adult
Publication Date: October 5, 2010
Source: Kindle store (freebie)
Age Rating: 17+

"This is the way the world ends - not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door."

Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way - not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies. 

My Review

  • Plot: Remy is evacuating a high school being used as a make-shift quarantine for uninfected humans when it gets attacked by an army of zombies. She discovers that her eight-year-old brother is getting transferred to a different quarantine in another state. Along the way, several characters see how strong a survivor she is and how capable she is of killing zombies, and she ends up dragging a few of them with her in tow across an apocalyptic desert wasteland on a mission to reunite with her little brother.
  • Characters: Remy is a pretty cool character who has learned before the story begins how to defend herself against the flesh-eating zombies. This makes her stand out because everybody else is scared and many get bitten and infected by the zombies. She even rescues a lioness which she names Ripley and forms a nice bond with her, albeit a bit unrealistic of one. Lazlo is the love interest and he's funny, but not much use in killing zombies, since he's quite weak in that area. I like Blue because he is stoic under all the high tension and even had been a medical student when the zombie virus broke out. The characters are very likable, although many of them do end up dying, but that's to be expected.
  • Story: This one surprised me because I didn't think I'd like it very much, but it ended up being quite an exciting journey through the Nevada and Idaho deserts. Sure, many things are improbable like walking out in the Nevada desert during late summer in the sun for several hours and not getting dehydrated or sunburned. Nobody would realistically survive without shade of some kind, which they did not have. A lioness would probably maul and kill someone in the traveling party, but she never acts like she would harm a soul. Still, I thought it was fun to read. It isn't all that gory, which is good because I would have dropped it otherwise. I'm not a zombie fiction reader, but I felt how hard it was to deal with a world in which, at any moment, the person you've been learning to trust and rely on could get attacked by a zombie and suddenly turn into one themselves.
  • Writing: The quality of the writing does leave much to be desired. As interesting as the story and characters are, the technical writing is sub par. There are several proof errors, as well. Still, I was able to overlook them and just enjoy the exciting pace of the story.
  • Overall Quality: Pretty decent, although poor writing brings it down a little, but it still ends up being an enjoyable read. This book gets classified as Young Adult fiction, but it technically is not. It's an adult novel with a nineteen-year-old protagonist and there is a sex scene with a little graphic description, although it's not as detailed as it could be. I'd say use caution and reserve this read for older teens at the youngest.
  • Favorite Scene/Moment: It's a bit spoilery, but I like the scene when Remy escapes from the cult leader, Korech (not very a very original name, I'm afraid) and how that whole thing goes down. A shotgun is involved and it's pretty intense. The guy doesn't end up being an important character, but Remy's time at his compound is odd and interesting.
  • My Score: 4/5 stars.


  1. You caught my attention with zombies, since it's my latest obsession. :) And I've been wanting to read an Amanda Hocking novel for a while now. It's funny that you mention the cult, because I just finished another zombie novel where the protags had to escape from a cult. Is this a new theme in zombie fiction? I'm a little worried when you say the writing is sub-par, but like you say, it can be overlooked when the story is fun.

    1. @Camille: I don't know what trends are going on with zombie fiction since I never usually read it. But, I did think this book was really fun. You might like it, too, if you can overlook that sub-par writing.

  2. I read a few sample chapters of this one and decided that even though it was going to be slightly unbelievable and probably going to have some editing errors, I was going to read it. It just sounded exciting. I'm glad you enjoyed it despite its faults. That gives me hope that when I finally get to it I'll like it too.

    1. @Jenny: That's cool! I'm glad you feel more confident you'll like this one, then. :)

  3. I'm too scared to read any more of Hocking's books. I still have Switched half read on my book shelf. Although if I'd known about this one before I would have read this one first. Like Camille zombies are my new favourite thing. Plus I don't have any issues with lots of gore. I may end up getting frustrated at all the improbable bits. I'm not convinced that a lioness wouldn't maul someone either.

    1. @Lan: Are you not liking Switched? I actually like Hocking as a storyteller, even if her writing is not so great. But, she's great at certain things, like characterization. In time, her technical writing will improve as that's the easiest thing to get better at with practice.

      I didn't know zombie fiction was your new favorite thing!

    2. I couldn't finish Switched :( I started reading it ages ago and have had no real inclination to pick it up. Though that's not an uncommon thing at the moment. I have about 20 books like that. I didn't mind the writing actually. It was just a little slow for me. Which is why Hollowland might be a better fit for me. I need more proper action. I'm really liking zombies right now. Maybe I'm spending too much time playing House of the Dead. Zombies are the perfect book foe. I can get out all my violent aggression and no one will say anything because zombies are totally evil.

    3. @Lan: House of the Dead, lol. Do you play Resident Evil? A new RE game is coming out in October and I might even get into it. Although, AU probably bans all RE games, lol.

      Zombies are supposed to die and there's just no way around that. I think that's why they're perfect antagonists. Some idiots might even argue that serial killers don't deserve death, but zombies are beyond all hope. You can kill them just as easily as you would eradicate an infectious disease and have fun doing it.

  4. your review makes me want to read this book ASAP. I even have a copy of it because it was for free like a long time ago on Amazon and it was way before I even attempted to read Switched. But I'm still rather curious about Hocking. >___>

    great review, Cathy!

    ashelynn @ gypsy book reviews.

    1. @Ash: Thanks, Ash. This book is still free on Amazon and Smashwords. Hope you'll like it. It's pretty decent!


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