Five boys attacked her.
Now they must repay her with their blood and flesh.
Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies. Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her.
One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a half-Roma friend, Martyn. As empty and hopeless as she feels from the attack, she asks Drina to bring Martyn back from death’s door. “There is always a price for this kind of magic,” Drina warns. The way to save him is gruesome. Bethan must collect grisly pieces to fuel the spell: an ear, some hair, an eye, a nose, and fingers.
She gives the boys who assaulted her a chance to come forward and apologize. And when they don’t, she knows exactly where to collect her ingredients to save Martyn.
**** Huge thank you to Delacorte Press for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! ****
I knew I was going to enjoy this book but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did! Even though this book handles some tough content I still thought it was a fantastic book and something I just know I’ll be recommending, however, please keep in mind the following trigger warnings since this book gets very dark and gritty:
****Trigger Warnings: Rape, Graphic Violence, Physical and Sexual Abuse, & Gore****
First I’d like to say I actually really liked the Author’s Note/Forward at the beginning of this novel explaining her Romani heritage and some background on her inspiration for this book. I thought the Romani culture included in the story was absolutely fascinating and it’s very clear it’s handled and represented well by the author.
The story follows our protagonist, Bethan, who is learning herbcraft from her Gran who is also their clan’s drabarni (dealing in witchcraft). She desperately wants her Gran to start teaching her spells and witchcraft but must be patient and so instead goes to the market to sell their “spell” bags. At the marketplace she meets a very bold, sweet boy named Martyn who quickly befriends her. However, Bethan is constantly being harassed by the chieftain’s son Silas and his cronies and on her way home, she and Martyn are attacked and brutally assaulted. Bethan is learning quickly the ugly prices they have to pay to cast spells and must collect body parts from the wicked boys in order to save her friend.
The atmosphere in this story is very dark and very gritty dealing with blood and dark witchcraft, it definitely isn’t a story for the faint of heart. It’s also a very powerful and emotional story though and I thought the rape scene was handled well as it happens off page. How Bethan deals with the aftermath is incredible she’s an extremely strong character and slowly comes to terms with what was done to her over the course of the story.
I was on an emotional roller coaster while reading through “The Hollow Girl”, the way Hillary Monahan writes it made me feel every emotion that passed through Bethan. The anger, the rage at what was done to her and Martyn but yet she still had so much hope and mercy to give as well. We go from raging on a Hell bent revenge story to something……a lot more powerful and that’s all I’ll say. Everything comes full circle in a bit of an unexpected way. So overall though I thought the writing was fantastic.
As far as the pacing goes I thought it was very fast paced and was incredibly interesting from start to finish. The beginning may be considered more slow to other readers but it’s building up the story, the characters, and Romani rep so it really isn’t dull or boring at all. The action really picks up in the middle though and there’s also a couple surprise plot twists I did not see coming whatsoever!
Overall the plot was dark, suspenseful, and just plain amazing.
There weren’t too many central characters that came into play but the ones that did were fantastic, there was a lot of complexity and development to our main characters.
Bethan, is an amazing protagonist she’s extremely strong and develops a lot through the events of the story. Probably one of the best character arcs I’ve read! I don’t want to give too much away though by going in depth, just know she is a very well done character.
Gran, the current clan’s Drabarni and who is teaching Bethan to take her place, is also a very powerful and important character. Honestly Gran was such a badass, straight up badass is the best way to describe her. There were some scenes where I had goosebumps from her powerful spell craft displays. Go Gran!
Martyn didn’t have much “screen time” but he’s an important character at the beginning and end of the story especially. I thought he was incredibly charming, sweet, and adorable he was very much the chivalrous gentleman in my opinion. So much cuteness!
As for that little toad Silas and his gang they were despicable, I WISH I could have gone into this story and whooped some ass myself! However, every character got what they had coming to them and it was very satisfying.
While there isn’t really a romance in “The Hollow Girl” there is some flirtation and attraction between Martyn and Bethan, however after her assault she doesn’t want to be touched or too close to anyone, for good reason. However, it’s implied at the end of the story that they could be together in time. They are adorable and I’d love to see them end up together eventually.
Overall an incredible story that had horror, suspense, and gore but also managed to be an incredibly emotional and powerful read.
What I Loved:
- The writing was incredible
- The Romani rep and culture was done well and was fascinating
- Loved the dark, gritty revenge aspect of the story
- Very fast paced and interesting all the way through
- Very strong protagonist and great characters all around
What I Didn’t Love:
- I honestly can’t think of anything I DIDN’T like about this story
I highly recommend checking this book out if you’re a fan of YA horror that gets dark and gritty. The addition of Romani culture and the witchcraft added to the story all the more as well. However, as I mentioned earlier please keep in mind the trigger warnings as this won’t be a book everyone can read.
I don’t think I can praise this graphic novel series enough, seriously! This is hands down the BEST ones I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading and I loved every part of it.
I’m going to be giving little mini reviews of each volume (1-4) here and each with their own rating etc.
Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1-5
With volume 1 here I was absolutely hooked from the get go! The premise is so unique and interesting, I mean everyone’s pop star idols are literal GODS reincarnated every 90 years and only live for 2 before they die. The only problem is that we don’t get much explanation for anything in this volume and I was left with a lot more questions than answers. I’m actually still not 100% sure of what’s going on….at all. But that’s okay because it’s still SO GOOD!
The overall mythology/world building is pretty vague but already extremely fascinating. Of course there’s loads of room for more development, which I’d love, such as exactly why the gods are reincarnated and why it’s only every 90 years etc. Anyways probably one of my favorite parts about this graphic novel is how diverse the gods are, not only with thier human bodies but with the actual gods themselves. We see gods from all different kinds of mythology and religions : Irish, Egyptian, the religion of Christianity, Norse, Shinto (a Japanese religion), Greek, Sumerian, and probably a ton more as well! I think it’s AWESOME to see some other mythologies other than the traditional Greek and Roman being represented in stories, it’s fun to learn about all of these other gods, goddesses, and deities.
The characters, if you couldn’t already tell, were a-ma-zing! As I already stated they were all very diverse characters with different races and sexualities as well as the gods themselves being from many different mythologies and religions. Laura, the main character, was really relatable one of the main reasons being that she’s a huge fangirl of the gods. She’s pretty down to Earth and feisty! I also absolutely fell in love with Luci aka Lucifer, I mean seriously her character is so badass and all around amazing. One of the greatest characters I’ve ever come across! The Morrigan is a close favorite as well since I think her character is gorgeous and also one of the more interesting gods since she’s an Irish war goddess but is a sort of 3 goddesses in 1 type of thing! Overall though each god was very different with their own unique styles and personalities so they’re pretty easy to keep track of.
The art style……..how do I even begin to gush about the stunning artwork in “The Wicked + The Divine”? It’s one of the best art styles I’ve come across in a graphic novel it’s realistic, detailed, and the color palette is absolutely beautiful! I adored how vibrant all of the colors were! I was forcing the pages in everyone’s faces so they could behold how gorgeous the art is!
*gush, gush, gush, gush*
Also that ending is pretty brutal so I recommend having the next volume on hand!
I think I have to say that this was my favorite volume so far (out of the 4 I’ve read) because it was very action-packed with many crazy plot twists!
Basically in this volume Laura is trying to figure out who was behind the events that occurred at the end of volume 1 and some of the gods are willing to help her out as well.
We finally get a little more insight on the gods, which I liked but I still really had no clue what all was going on and what the “bigger picture” is. I’m starting to think there isn’t really any larger plot line here at all though, which is a little disappointing.
There’s also new characters! Yay! More badass and visually pleasing gods and goddesses! I have to say I absolutely loved the addition of Inanna because he’s gorgeous and also reminds me very much of Prince which I think was the point but still! He’s perfection!
Of course the artwork is STILL gorgeous too!
And also this is probably the most cliffhanger-y ending I’ve ever read! Definitely have volume 4 at the ready! (volume 3 is filler)
My least favorite volume seeing as how it’s mostly just filler and doesn’t really continue the story from volume 2 at all. Also apparently James McKelvie was on a break during this volume so a bunch of guest artists were brought in to illustrate each issue so the beautiful artwork we all know and love was not present in volume 3. I honestly really hated some of the artwork too…….
I really, really, really didn’t like the art for the issue about Sakhmet’s backstory……
Basically all we get to see here is the backstories on a lot of the gods and see how they went from human to deity. My favorite origin story would definitely have to be The Morrigan and Baphomet which was also thankfully accompanied with a decent art style.
I just felt that I couldn’t really focus that well on appreciating the backstories when that ending from volume 2 had me still screaming in agony!
My overall thoughts were that this was okay but definitely not as impressive.
Finally answers to what the hell happened at the end of volume 2! A ton of shit goes down in this volume, there’s a lot of action and fight scenes and they are amazing! It was a lot of fun to get to see all of the gods’ powers and abilities since we haven’t seen too much of them up until this point.
Really loved getting to see Laura again and especially in this volume, no spoilers though! The characters were of course all as wonderful as they’ve been so far but we don’t really see any new characters in this volume either.
As much as the story picked up on this volume it was also very, very confusing. Once again I’m left wondering if there’s really anything else going on behind the scenes or if the only story we get to see is the “whims of the gods” type of thing. I am still hoping there’s something “bigger” going on. I’m also just very confused in general especially with that ending. The ending this time around was a little underwhelming and left me feeling curious but also not dying to know what’s going to happen next either.
I’m also glad we are back to the original art style, thank goodness!
Overall I HIGHLY recommend checking this series out!
Links for The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act