Hollow Dolls, by MarcyKate Connolly, (Jan. 2020, Sourcebooks), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1-4926-8819-8
Picking up immediately after the events in Shadow Weaver (2018) and Comet Rising (2019), Hollow Dolls, set in the Shadow Weaver universe, follows Simone and Sebastian, two of Lady Aisling’s captives, as they try and rebuild their lives. Simone is a mind reader, determined to find her lost family – but she has no idea how old she is, having been Lady Aisling’s prisoner, suspended in time, for so long. Sebastian, a memory thief, invites her to stay with him and his sister, Jemma, as she begins her search, and the three decide to head to the Archives to seek information about Simone’s village. After visiting Lady Aisling in prison, Simone and Sebastian discover that a body walker – someone with a talent to control another person – has taken over Jemma, and the two head off on their journey alone. When they meet a woman named Maeve, also headed to the Archives to learn what happened to her family, they’re so relieved to have found someone they can trust, but strange things start happening when the group arrives at the Archives, too.
Hollow Dolls is an expansion of the Shadow Weaver universe, but there’s enough background in the book that new readers should be able to follow along (and most likely, head for the Shadow Weaver books when they’re finished). Simone and Sebastian’s friendship is a strong part of the story, and the Archives staff and other guests have mixed emotions over their presence there, but there’s not enough meat to the characters to invest readers. The world-building is solid and interesting, and I wanted to know more about the Archives. The unraveling revelations are well-played, and readers will like the overall smooth pace of the novel. In short, Hollow Dolls is good; I just wanted more – which is a pretty good thing, overall. Shadow Weaver readers will likely get much more from this.
Author MarcyKate Connolly’s website has more about her books, a link to her blog, and information about her appearances.