This is a wonderful middle grades fantasy trilogy with an extremely compelling world. The story follows two 12-year-old twins, Em and Matt, who are Animare, meaning they can draw things and make them appear in real life. Of course, there are nefarious types of people who want to control the twins’ power, because they’re special, and because said nefarious types want to control Hollow Earth, a place where all mythical creatures have been banished. In the first novel, we are introduced to the twins, their world, and the general plot of the rest of the trilogy. When I initially read Hollow Earth, way back in December of 2012, I liked the story, but felt like the fantasy elements could have been a little more fleshed out. However, I was intrigued enough to keep reading, even I have been a bit slow about it. I gave it a rating of 3 stars, and recommended it, particularly for a book I picked up solely because John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness on Torchwood and Dr. Who) was the co-author. His sister is the other author, and she’s pretty awesome too.
Attending Dragon Con in 2014, I realized that the second book of the series had come out, when I entered the Barrowmans’ autograph line and made purchase of book #2 and got it signed. The second book, The Bone Quill, is my favorite in the series. I couldn’t put it down. It answered many questions left after Hollow Earth and also sent the story hurtling forward splendidly, while adding some additional elements I loved. I rated it 4 stars on Goodreads. The only drawback for me was that I didn’t feel as invested in the characters as I thought I should be, and felt like they could’ve been built up a little more.
That brings us to today in July of 2016. I recently picked up a galley of Conjuror, the first book in a new series featuring Em & Matt from this series. I realized if that was out, I had likely missed The Book of Beasts release. I went ahead and bought it so I could finish out that story before starting the next. The last book wrapped the story up very nicely and quickly. I didn’t feel quite as invested as with The Bone Quill, but still felt it was a solid read. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.
On a completely different note, one thing I loved about the series as a whole was the setting on Scottish isles. It just sounded beautiful and like an amazing place to live, and that area is so rich with legend and mystery. Wonderful choice by the authors, who probably realized that, since they are Scottish themselves.
Recommend: Yes, especially for lovers of middle grades fantasy and John & Carole Barrowman fans
Rating: 3.5 stars overall
Keep an eye out for my review of Conjuror, likely coming some time next week.
Have you read the Hollow Earth series? If not, think you’ll give it a try? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Images Courtesy of Goodreads.