Book Reviews

Review: The Hollow Heart by Marie Rutkoski

After The Midnight Lie, I was not sure where The Hollow Heart was going to go. That’s not entirely true. I had hopes, but I wasn’t sure. I still haven’t read The Winners Curse, so any references are totally lost on me. But my feelings for The Hollow Heart totally flip flopped! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


At the end of The Midnight Lie, Nirrim offered up her heart to the God of Thieves in order to restore her people’s memories of their city’s history. The Half Kith who once lived imprisoned behind the city’s wall now realize that many among them are powerful. Meanwhile, the person Nirrim once loved most, Sid, has returned to her home country of Herran, where she must navigate the politics of being a rogue princess who has finally agreed to do her duty.

In the Herrani court, rumors begin to grow of a new threat rising across the sea, of magic unleashed on the world, and of a cruel, black-haired queen who can push false memories into your mind, so that you believe your dearest friends to be your enemies.

Sid doesn’t know that this queen is Nirrim, who seeks her revenge against a world that has wronged her. Can Sid save Nirrim from herself? Does Nirrim even want to be saved? As blood is shed and war begins, Sid and Nirrim find that it might not matter what they want…for the gods have their own plans.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Hollow Heart is a story where I thought, “okay I know how I feel” only for my feelings to completely change halfway through. At the beginning, I loved how ruthless Nirrim was. To see a heroine completely give in to ambition? That’s my latest obsession. But at the same time, The Hollow Heart is about what happens when we lose touch with who we are. Or when who we are changes and we aren’t sure who we are anymore.

At the same Sid goes through her own character growth – constantly questioning what she thought about who she was. And this where my feelings began to change. At the beginning, I was entirely immersed in Nirrim, in watching her let loose all the thoughts we hold ourselves back, while also realizing that there’s this little voice. This little intuition that whispers to us. But then Sid began to take over as my favorite POV especially with her character growth. The last 30% I was entirely smitten with Sid.

Because love takes work. We can fall into passion, into those feelings, but fighting through the hard parts? I was constantly wondering if Sid and Nirrim could find their ways back to each other. To the essence of who we are and loving all the pieces of each other. So my feelings towards Sid and Nirrim kind of flipped throughout reading. But I think my only complaint had to be that the pacing seemed like the ending wrapped up in a whirlwind.

Days after I wasn’t sure what happened really happened. Everything kind of falls, domino style, that I began to question what happened. I felt like there wasn’t enough space at the end especially considering the gigantic scale of what happened. Additionally, without spoiling, I felt like there wasn’t enough emotional fulfillment at the very end – considering the story/pacing/climax. It almost felt like the ending didn’t land as fully or much as it could have been because of the pacing and abruptness.

That being said, if you wanted to see how Sid and Nirrim’s story wraps up, The Hollow Heart is an absolute must read. It reinforces a story about self-discovery and the power of love. The power of finding ourselves and fighting for what we think is important. Find The Hollow Heart on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite sapphic fantasy?

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