Review | These Hollow Vows (These Hollow Vows #1) by Lexi Ryan

Title: These Hollow Vows (These Hollow Vows #1) by Lexi Ryan

Published: July 20, 2021

Genre(s): young adult, fantasy, romance

Read as: ebook & audio, library

Rating: 3.5

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.

Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.

Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.  (Goodreads)

I ended up reading this book because Ali from Hardback Hoarder gushed about it in her December wrap up. When a book is pitched as a fantasy love triangle with a boss bitch female lead I have to tell you, I am usually completely on board. However, this book took me on a bit of a roller coaster.

I’m still undecided if it was the fun type of roller coaster or the kind that leaves you feeling vaguely nauseated at the end.

I have to admit, if I rated the first and second half of this book separately I would come up with a wildly different rating. The first half was, to pull no punches, garbage. I’d give it a 1.5…maybe a 2. The second half bumped up considerably to a 4. It felt like I was reading two completely different books.

We start with two sisters living in indentured poverty in a cranky old woman’s basement. Think the stepmother from Cinderella and she came right along with her two horrible daughters who demanded Brie and her sister wait on them hand and foot. Of course, there is a handsome boy next door that makes Brie’s eyes sparkle even as she works herself to the bone to try to buy out both her and her sister’s contracts. Boy next door is the epitome of the classic Disney prince if we continue with our theme. Picture tall, pale, chiseled jaw, blonde hair, hero complex…any classic Disney prince will fill the bill and he was equally as dull until we pass that magic 50% marker.

What would this story be is things did not go horribly wrong? Her sister gets sold to the Unseelie, and Brie ends up in Faerie to try to rescue her from their nefarious clutches. Things go suspiciously well for her. Everything just seems to come up roses.

Obviously, nothing is what it seems and Brie is a trusting idiot with a big heart. The book really started to get good when things started falling apart around her. We have a Seelie prince and an Unseelie prince and it is super sketchy about which one you should root for, a rescue mission, a tower of lies, and secrets hiding around every corner.

While I think these characters needed to be far more fleshed out and the first half should have had a full rewrite, I adored everything going to heck-in-a-handbasket toward the end. Even as Brie makes decisions that seem sunshine-and-roses you can smell something nasty lurking in the background and you just want to shout at her about it! But, instead you are just along for the roller coaster ride as her world gets tossed on its head…again.

As a whole, I enjoyed this book and I am glad I powered through the first half to get to the finish. I think what bothered me about the first portion is that it was built almost entirely on sisters and family and that just is not my cup of tea. I need turbulent romance and nefarious sexual innuendos to fuel my reading soul. But, I am glad I ended up giving this a try and I am going to be adding the sequel to my list of anticipated releases for 2022.

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