Book Review: Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

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Title: Hollow Kingdom

Author: Kira Jane Buxton

Genre: Fantasy/Sci-fi

Number of Pages: 320

Rating: A-

Recommended?: Yes



It’s safe to say that this book is completely unlike anything I’ve read before in my life. It was both cuckoo-crazy and deliriously weird while still creating characters who I cared about and wanted to see succeed. The main character is a junk food-addicted pet crow named Shit-Turd (S.T. for short) who longs to be human. He lives a relaxed and predictable life with his owner Big Jim, an eccentric redneck with a dismal love life, and a bloodhound named Dennis.


Everything’s going smoothly for ol’ S.T. until one day Big Jim’s eyeball suddenly falls out. No sooner his eyeball hit the floor than Big Jim loses interest in anything that matters and starts exhibiting distinctly zombie-like behavior. After patiently waiting for their beloved master to return to his normal self, S.T. and Dennis flee and are forced to survive a newly anarchic society where the animals are the only ones haven’t succumbed to the human virus.


S.T. is, simply put, an amazing character. He’s funny and brave and flawed and has the emotional range of a human protagonist, and in many cases probably more. Dennis is an endearing numbskull who will feel familiar to anyone who’s ever had a dog with more exuberance than common sense. I loved how S.T. went from seeing Dennis as an irritating cretin with a peanut brain to a close and indispensable friend. There’s hardly a dull moment in this story, Dennis and S.T. are constantly in danger and keep running into other animals, both friendly and vicious.


The only thing I didn’t like about this book was all the little chapters written from the perspective of animals who didn’t show up in the story and therefore didn’t seem to have much of anything to do with anything. They didn’t seem to contribute a whole lot to the world-building and I felt they took too much focus off S.T.’s story and frankly, were a little irritating. I’m not including the viewpoints of Winnie the Poodle and Genghis Cat among these because they both ended up playing a role in the primary conflict.


Also, Genghis Cat was hilarious, a stereotypical asshole feline elevated to ridiculous heights of narcissistic douchery. I like it when books can straddle both humor and genuine emotion and Hollow Kingdom absolutely succeeded at that. The ending was also fantastic and even though everything was wrapped up nicely, I would still be interested in the possibility of the author writing a sequel (I honestly don’t know if that’s on the table or not.) I envy this woman’s imagination and ability to make a premise that seems like it never should have worked do just that.

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