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Review: Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

29 Nov

This was a strange book – strange in a good way, but, I confess, very different to much that I’ve ever read. I’ll try to explain my opinion as best I can. 🙂

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn’t great. But Lacy has one advantage — she’s been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to her to save the Universe.

Will Lacy Dawn’s predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?

When I began reading this book, I did so without having read the blurb above – it’s something I’m doing more and more, seemingly as I get older, for whatever reason… Perhaps something to do with my fear of being influenced to expect something specific from a book’s blurb? I’m not sure, to be honest. But in any case, that’s what I did with this book.

Lacy Dawn is precocious, intelligent, naive and curious. She’s also the only child of terrible parents, and they all live (and sometimes ‘live’ is a really strong word) in really bad conditions. As the central character in a story, and being as young as she is when the reader meets her, Lacy Dawn absolutely stole the lime light – as she was supposed to, I’m sure. As her story develops, we are shown how very dark and sad her life is – there is violence, abuse, and general abandonment in terms of the people who are supposed to look after her not really trying, mired as they are in their problems, but Lacy Dawn has a kind of ‘magic’ -to which I’ll return later- and a secret friend which help her to cope.

As I said earlier, I didn’t read the book’s blurb, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I have to confess to allowing my own preconceptions to color the narrative, in terms of me experiencing Lacy Dawn, her circumstances and what she’s capable of doing through a kind of ‘she imagines all of it to help her cope and get through the day’ lens. There is a sad and fragile beauty to her tale, and it came as a bit of a shock when what I thought she was imagining turned out to be real, and when the narrative shifted into a completely different gear (where the ‘strange’ I mentioned earlier comes in).

The story then becomes what I felt was an unfocused satire regarding, of all things, shopping. Now, don’t get me wrong – the satire works, but because of the jarring ship from Lacy Dawn’s circumstances to this new focus, it takes a bit of getting used to. And although I did come to understand it, the effort was akin to trying to fit two incompatible shapes together, having to force it a bit.

What I also found difficult was -as is mentioned in the blurb- just why Lacy Dawn had to save the universe, and what from; I confess that I may have still been trying to fit the two narratives (the first focusing on a really terrible childhood, the next focusing on shopping) together and so missed why the universe needed saving, but unfortunately that also led me to not understanding why Lacy Dawn herself had been chosen to save the universe. Another aspect of the plot which is used many, many times is Lacy Dawn’s ‘magic’, which isn’t explained in terms of where she got these abilities and even learned how to use them. Saving the universe and having magical abilities were the two major aspects of the narrative I really didn’t understand, which led me to not understanding who Lacy Dawn becomes – which led me to connecting with and understanding the supporting cast of characters more than the main character.

Structurally, the book also takes a bit of getting used to: the reader is given first-person POV thoughts from all the different characters throughout the book (which is written in the 3rd person POV) with no clarity as to whom thought those thoughts; as I said, it takes a bit of getting used to, but the ‘getting used to it’ forces the reader to jump back and forth and re-read passages to identify the owner of the thoughts, which then slows down the narrative considerably.

Now, here’s the thing – I haven’t read much satire, and I’m one of those readers who struggles to understand experimental forms of narrative, so my preconceptions of the reading of this book probably made it that much more difficult for me to fully grasp what was being done in the book. Which is another way of saying that this isn’t a bad, or terrible, or *whatever* book, but that it was a strange book – at least, for me.

I do encourage you to get yourself a copy and read it, though; as the reviews I write are my opinions of books, I really want you to make up your own mind, and I’m pretty sure that many, many readers will disagree with my opinion. Which is what makes opinions so damned cool (and, yes, dangerous).

So, to cap off the review, there was aspects of this novel that worked beautifully and memorably, and aspects that didn’t, but I did enjoy reading it and my attention was held throughout. So give it read and feel free to let me know what you thought of the book. 🙂

7 / 10

To order your copies, click the link for Amazon US, and check out Robert’s Goodreads page for links to more of his work.

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

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2 Comments

Posted by on November 29, 2017 in Reviews

 

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2 responses to “Review: Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

  1. roberteggleton

    December 10, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Hi Dave ,

    Thanks for the review! Yes, I encourage everyone interested in my novel to check out the independent reviews of it that have been posted on Amazon, especially of the final edition that was released a year ago and which corrected the attribution of the internal dialogue in the story, a formatting error of the ARC.

    One review of special note is about how the political parody in the story is directly connected to the welfare of children, American social issues being argued about on Facebook — immigration, complicated tax codes, sexual harassment… — and how it is all tied up with Lacy Dawn’s victimization and mission to save the universe after millennia of preparation via genetic manipulations before her final training. The link to this review is: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2RAXNLSHTUDUF/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=190713395X

    As you know, half of author proceeds from my project are donated. After Christmas, the publisher is going to make the next deposit from the Rarity from the Hollow project into the nonprofit agency’s account for the prevention of child maltreatment. Millions of American children will spend this holiday in temporary shelters. A lot more world-wide are likely to spend their respective “holidays” in worse conditions. Having once been the director of emergency children’s shelters in West Virginia, it is still heartbreaking to think about children not having a “real” family during Christmas. I remember the faces, the smiles and thank yous for the presents from staff, but….

    Take care,

    Robert

     
  2. roberteggleton

    March 13, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Dave,

    Happy New Year! I hope that you’re doing okay. After Christmas sales are tallied in April, the publisher is going to make the next deposit of author proceeds from the Rarity from the Hollow project into the nonprofit agency’s PayPal account for the prevention of child maltreatment. Millions of American children spent this past holiday in temporary shelters. A lot more world-wide likely spent their respective “holidays” in worse conditions. Having once been the director of emergency children’s shelters in West Virginia, it is still heartbreaking to think about children not having a “real” family during Christmas. I remember the faces, the smiles and thank yous for the presents from staff, but….

    I also wanted you to know that the novel received a very cool review by Amazing Stories Magazine. This is my tweet: “Amusing at times, shocking at others, a touching and somehow wonderful SFF read.” Full review by Amazing Stories Magazine: http://bit.ly/2kbsAlV On Sale for Christmas: http://amzn.to/2lF5BPS Proceeds help maltreated children: http://www.childhswv.org

    Thanks again for the review. I just shared the link to your blog again on social media. Your support has been appreciated and anything that you can do to help promote this project will continue to be appreciated.

    Take care,

    Robert

    P.S. Just FYI, here’s the link to a review that nailed the political parody in my story, connected the tragedy with the comedy, and its overall child welfare interests within this climate of adversity in America. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2RAXNLSHTUDUF/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=190713395X I thought that you might appreciate reading this review. And, a very kind book blogger donated this video trailer to the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkbusks811Q&feature=youtu.be.
    A full-screen version of the video is here: http://www.valkyrieastrology.com/Videos/Rarity%20from%20the%20Hollow.mp4
    Feel free to share anything that you think would help.

     

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