🎉 Happy Book Birthday to Hollow Road! 🎉
I’m back with another blog tour with The Storytellers on Tour for Hollow Road (Maer Cycle #1) by Dan Fitzgerald. Thanks to the Timy & Justine for organising this tour and thanks to the author for the copy in exchange for an honest review!
Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!
Goodreads: Hollow Road (Maer Cycle #1)
Publication Date: 17 September 2020
Legends describe the Maer as savage man-beasts haunting the mountains, their bodies and faces covered with hair. Creatures of unimaginable strength, cunning, and cruelty. Bedtime stories to keep children indoors at night. Soldiers’ tales to frighten new recruits.
It is said the Maer once ruled the Silver Hills, but they have long since passed into oblivion.
This is the story of their return.
Carl, Sinnie and Finn, three companions since childhood, are tasked with bringing a friend’s body home for burial. Along the way, they find there is more to the stories than they ever imagined, and the mountains hold threats even darker than the Maer. What they discover on their journey will change the way they see the world forever.
Travel down Hollow Road to find out which legends are true, and which have been twisted.
Dan Fitzgerald is a fantasy writer living in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When he is not writing, he might be gardening, doing yoga, cooking, or listening to French music.
This cover kept making me think that I had chosen to read a supernatural horror so it was a wonderful surprise to find (and eventually remember) that this was actually a fantasy with supernatural elements! I didn’t have any expectations going into this but I’m glad to say that I ended up enjoying it.
I do read a lot of YA fantasy so this was already different to my regular reads, but I liked the plot, world building and characters and was quickly pulled into the story. That said, the pace was rather slow, especially half-way through, and required a bit of push for me to continue. A lot of the book is spent on the road ‘journeying’ from one location to the next and it was a great way to not only get to know the characters, but to also learn about the world. I enjoyed learning about the folklore full of ‘creatures of old’ that humans used to scare their children. But we quickly learn that these creatures don’t just exist in myths and I found myself becoming even more intrigued with the story! Aside from the Maer, there are encounters and mentions of vampires, dragons, and ogres, amongst other unfamiliar mythological creatures. One aspect I wish we learned more about was the history of this world — the politics, the government, and especially the magic — but as an introduction I thought the world building was done well.
Hollow Road seems to me the beginning of a series of adventure filled tales of three friends who end up being more like ‘small town heroes’ in this realm. I’m a sucker for great friendships in stories, so I really liked Carl, Sinnie and Finn and I appreciated that we get all of their perspectives. Finn was my favourite character though! They’re all flawed and face personal situations that were relatable. There were moments of envy between them but they are without doubt a group of friends who truly trust and respect each other, even if they might not always agree. They have distinctive voices that made it easy to know whose chapter you’re reading, but I wish that we got more development in their characters. While I liked them, I didn’t really feel connected to them and wished they’d been more fleshed out.
My favourite part of the story was learning about the Maer. The descriptions made them seem like werewolves, but more human and less animalistic. I loved that they had their own language, culture and history, and I appreciated the gradual change in mentality of the characters as we learn that Maer are a lot more humanlike than the myths led people to believe. There was a good message about accepting others despite obvious differences. I wanted to spend more time with the Maer and to also learn more about their origin, but I do have a feeling that’ll happen in the second book, so I’m looking forward to that! Plus, the story ended with a rather cryptic message from one of the characters and I’m really curious to see what surprises lie ahead.
TL;DR: This was an easy to read fantasy with all the enjoyable fantasy elements including journeys, fighting, supernatural and mythological creatures, and magic. I really liked our main characters Carl, Sinnie and Finn and the friendship between them was wonderful to read about. I got strong classic fantasy vibes from this story and it was a nice change of pace from the YA fantasies I usually read.
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Have you read Hollow Road or is it on your TBR?