Wednesday 20 April 2022

Book Review: Of Beast and Burden (Hollow and Hill #1) by Kelsey Kicklighter (YA Fantasy)

Title: Of Beast and Burden (Hollow and Hill #1)
Author: Kelsey Kicklighter
Publisher: The Parliament House
Publication Date: 10 May 2022
Pages: 255
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: ARC via NetGalley

A fae girl with a human heart.

A Seelie Queen with a penchant for stealing mortals.

And an Unseelie King who will have to give up his throne.

On the coast of Georgia rests a small southern town where faeries still take changelings. Faye lost her mother to the Folk, but has she spent her whole life longing for a glimpse—however brief—behind the veil.

When Faye finds her way in, she also finds the truth of why the dark and alluring world of the Folk has always called to her: She's half-faerie, and heiress to the Dark Court's throne.

When the rival court steals her best friend, she'll have to claim her crown to get her back. But that means learning how to use her glamour so she can face three deadly trials—and not falling for the dark and brooding king she's meant to be replacing, or the nymph-turned-knight teaching her to fight.


Of Beast and Burden was a mixed-bag read for me, with both positive and negative aspects. First off the positives... The story was mostly entertaining and I liked several of the characters. For those who prefer their reads to meet expectations without too many surprises, this one crosses off plenty of the favoured tropes for the genre. Also, the protagonist is bisexual, and it's great to see that representation. On the negative side, I never really felt the spark in the FF relationship and wondered if it was just there to make the point of Faye being bisexual. For me, the story followed the usual tropes so well that nothing was a surprise. I guessed every twist so far ahead it amazed me that Faye couldn't pick up on them, especially the one involving Gage, which he hinted at pretty pointedly in his dialogue. The three trials were conquered a little too easily for my liking, so there was a lack of tension behind the action, even in fight scenes, and a character introduced heavily at the start completely disappeared from the story once she'd served as a plot device. Overall, I didn't hate this book; it was enjoyable enough. However, it wasn't original enough to fully captivate me, feeling more like a familiar narrative than something new and intriguing. But that close following of tropes may well appeal to some readers who want all their genre-expectation boxes ticked in every new read, so others could feel differently. For me, it was a three-star read.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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