2nd February 2012
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.
Hollow Pike was an awesomely good, unique debut, full of twists and turns and a great balance between the norm and the paranormal. Also, awesome realistic female characters ftw!
I will admit that Hollow Pike was not all that much like I thought it was going to be. Like, I thought it was gonna be like, witchcraft for the whole way through, but the actual thing was way better. We're first introduced to Lis when she's moving to a new school, getting ready for a new life after being bullied really badly back in Wales, and, apart from the fact that she has some pretty freaky dreams, everything seems pretty normal. And I really enjoyed that. It was kind of grounding.
But I have this thing with bullying in books, right? Like, it never really convinces me. It always feels a little bit fake, you know? Because I don't really buy the whole social hierarchy thing. I don't know if it actually happens, because it doesn't in my school. At least I don't think it does... Maybe I'm just too oblivious to notice. But I guess because I always see it happen in teen movies, it always feels a bit unnatural in books. And I got a lot less of that from this book because, even though I did think it felt a little bit off in places, I think James has had a lot of experience with bullying and stuff, and that really comes across.
Throughout the book there were these little nuggets of creepiness that really kept me reading though. I honestly couldn't decide who I thought the bad guys were going to be and the ending did take me by surprise. I really liked that he kept the traditional witchcraft thing, and I'd really like to learn more about the history of Hollow Pike. Okay, I'm such a freaking history geek that I want to know the history of a fictional town. I need to leave the house more...
I really liked Lis, even if I didn't like her decisions all that much at certain points in the story. I think that she was just very kind of normal despite her situation, and I liked her sense of humour. I think my favourite characters though were definitely Delilah and Jack :) But I also liked the fact that Kitty and Delilah were going out with each other they didn't really care what people thought of them. It didn't feel like it'd been forced or put in there for the sake of having a lesbian couple in a book to make it look like it's all cool with things and stuff. They were going out with each other because they loved each other and it felt really natural. I liked Danny too, and the fact that he was a bit of a geek, but I'm glad that the book wasn't romance centric and that it took a backseat to the actual story.
Hollow Pike is a great book about witchcraft, high school and bullying, and it all works seamlessly well together. Makes me excited for all the other wonderful British books I have waiting for me to read! ;)