Hollow Pike by James Dawson - Something wicked this way comes...
She thought she'd be safe in the country, but you can't escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her.
Lis thinks she's being paranoid - after all who would want to murder her? She doesn't believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn't believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you're alone in the woods, after dark - and a twig snaps...
Hollow Pike - where witchcraft never sleeps. From Amazon UK
After hearing fellow bloggers rave about how amazing Hollow Pike is, I was really eager to read it, and picked it up excited for the fantastic story, creepy story I was going to read. However, a fantastic story is not what I got.
Having had enough of the bullying she experienced at her last school, Lis moves to Hollow Pike to live with her sister for a fresh start. New town, new school, new friends? Unfortunately, Fulton High School has it's own mean girls, and after experiencing the terrible things these girls do to others when taken under their wing, she ends up on the firing line. Fortunately, she quickly makes friends with the school "freaks", Kitty, Delilah and Jack, who make her feel a little stronger. If this wasn't bad enough, every night she is constantly haunted by a nightmare of her murder, which she started having long before she moved to Hollow Pike. But when the the woods in her dreams look alarming like Pike Copse, in a town which is stooped in stories of witchcraft, and then the Queen Bee of school is murdered quite like she is in her dreams, life goes from being difficult to downright freaky.
Sounds great, doesn't it? That's one of the things disappoints me so much. Hollow Pike had such potential! It could have been a really amazing story, but I found I just didn't care. Why? Because to me, the characters weren't believable. They laughed when things weren't funny, they got upset over things that weren't that bad, and the way they talk was just off. The best way I can describe reading Hollow Pike was like watching a teen movie where the actors can't act. It just all felt off to me.
For example, the bullying. The actions of the bullies in Hollow Pike are really quite bad, but the verbal taunts, the teasing, the arguments? I found them laughable. I'm completely against bullying in all forms, especially as someone who was bullied myself, but the things that were said would have been more believable coming out of the mouths of 11-year-olds than 15/16-year-olds. Older teenage girls can be so vicious, but these mean girls weren't as mean as I was expecting. And it was like this for all dialogue; the reactions of the characters making it seem that what was said was more shocking/exciting/funny, and so on, than it really was. I just couldn't believe these characters, or take them seriously.
Things did get a little more interesting after the murder of Laura Rigg, the queen bee. I can't spoil the story, but there were a few things that really worried our main characters, beyond the fact that a murderer was running loose. The strange way birds acted, the mysterious figure that seemed to be lurking, the rumours of a ritual killing, I was intrigued where the story would lead. But the story took it's time to actually lead to the big reveal, and there wasn't much in the way of history of Hollow Pike and the witchcraft as you would expect from the synopsis above.
Over all, I was really disappointed with Hollow Pike, and it took me so much longer to read than it normally would. However, as I said, a large number of fellow bloggers have raved about it and have given it five star reviews on Goodreads, which you can read by clicking the link below. Be sure to read more reviews before deciding based on my review alone. Though I have to say, this isn't a series I will be continuing.
Thank you to Indigo for the review copy.
Published: 2nd February 2012
Buy on Amazon US
James Dawson's Website