Content Warning: Sexual Scenes, Death, Violence, War Themes, Drugged
Abriella (Brie) lives with her step-mother, step-sisters, and biological sister. However, her step family uses both her and Jas as labor to pay off an never ending debt. To pay that debt, after many years, Brie’s step-mother sells her sister to a fae king. Brie is now on a mission to save her sister from the horrid fae she hates so much.
However, rescuing her sister might not be as hard as it seems. Along the way she partners with the Seelie Prince Ronan and the exiled Unseelie Prince Finn; and falls for both. But who will she trust to help her find her sister and who will she fall in love with? Is her decision the right choice?
- A map!
- The ending
- Choppy transitions/explanations
- Flat-ish characters
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
The betrayals in this book is what sold me. At first you think the plot is innocent enough with Brie trying to free her sister, but oh boy does it take some twists and turns! It’s not your usual love triangle book. And quite frankly, the betrayal at the end is what got me hooked and wanting to read the second book.
When Brie finds out Sebastien used her to gain the crown of the Unseelie kingdom and she flies out in a fury– oh man! I haven’t read a twist like that and it was executed so damn well that it had me itching for the next book (which wasn’t out at the time). What will happen next? Does Sebastien really love Brie and he didn’t expect to when first setting his sights on gaining the crown? What of Finn? So many questions!
The rest of the plot was okay. It was jumpy from scene to scene and how Brie traveled between Sebastien and Finn, though. It came across as Lexi Ryan not knowing how to transition from one idea to the next, so it felt choppy and not smoothly planned. For example, when Brie looks into the mirror and sees her mom, and then goes chasing after her across the kingdom. Like she should not have been able to get to the graveyard that fast. We would have been shown how she snuck out, maybe she stole a horse, etc. But she literally just ran and it seemed unrealistic.
I would have loved to see more explanations about Brie’s powers besides her just finding out she can blend in with shadows! Also a scene with the other candidates instead of her running around the entire time would have been fun. She had to play the part like she was interested, right? Well, it really didn’t seem like she participated in anything throughout the book.
Also, Finn’s involvement was just random. I understand he wants the Unseelie crown from Brie, but it was abrupt and the characters didn’t provide a good enough reason for why they were training her, etc. However, Brie using Finn as a rebound was kind of neat to see. I liked the idea of Brie liking Sebastien, but dealing with his initial betrayal, and then using Finn to cope.
The three main characters, Brie, Finn, and Sebastien are all morally gray. They want what’s best for their kingdom, their sister, and their cause, which causes all three to commit some questionable acts. However, all have good intentions at heart.
There was also a lack of character development throughout the entire book. Though morally gray, they still fell a bit flat.
Abriella is stubborn and determined throughout the book, but definitely oozed “I’m-not-like-the-other-girls” vibes. She was in fact very ordinary (and her thieving skills were not the best), until half/the end of the book. She is also very naive and lacks a bit of perception, especially for a “thief.” A lot of the answers were right there in front of her and she didn’t catch on. She seems to stumble into answers and conflict without thinking things through properly, which was a bit annoying.
She was also very much influenced by the men (Ronan and Finn) that she dropped her beliefs and accepted apologies quickly, which seemed out of character. I liked her character at the end; filled with rage and fury and darkness. I want to see more of that and how this betrayal effects her.
Sebastien was probably my favorite of the three main characters. He was sweet and came across as a love-bug of sorts, besides the whole back-stabbing bit. He also had the most depth compared to all the other characters. Sebastien’s development and ultimate plot twist, for me, made the book. From this, you can obviously tell that Brie and Sebastien were endgame for the first book. We saw so much of him, and so little of Finn. (Prediction– it’ll change in the second book).
However, if he was the damn Seelie prince, he could have easily helped Brie and Jas out of their financial situation. Especially if he liked her so much. But nooo! He doesn’t dare because he didn’t want to explain where he got it. (Okay I get that, but c’mon). He also started to become manipulative towards the end and pushing for the bond, which was a big red flag!
Finn was so bland and stereotypically up until the end. He felt so inauthentic to me the entire book and I knew something was up from the moment he was introduced. We also didn’t get to see enough of him as the story kept jumping around and was too fast-paced, so he didn’t really have time to develop.
The writing style of the book makes it an easy read (literally finished the book in 12 hours). It’s simple to read, easy to understand, and surprisingly entertaining. I wasn’t expected to be dragged into such a mundane yet exciting story.
These Hollow Vows had a lot of potential, but it fell short. It had me skeptical in the beginning, but held my attention until the end. However, it did lack a strong plot and the scenes were a little weak. Although, the love triangle and ending were amazing! It has me wondering what will happen in the next book and who Brie will end up with (even though she’s married to Sebastien).
I also wouldn’t market this book for A Court of Thorns and Roses fans nor The Cruel Prince fans. I didn’t see any similarities, nor was it a high-fantasy book like ACOTAR.
What did you think of the book? Did you like it or could you have done without it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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