Thanks to BookSirens for a free advance copy of this title, which came out on Nov 30, 2020 from Lockegee Books. I'm leaving this review voluntarily.
Quinn Prosser is expected to take over the family undertaking business from his mother when he gets a little older, but all the adventure novels Quinn's read have given him other ideas. When his estranged father tells him that he has a half-sister, Quinn sets out to find her; turns out, she's Zora Coldiron--a genius red-headed teenage scientist who walks with the help of two crutches. The two long-lost siblings decide to set out as traveling companions, on a journey to hunt spirits.
In the alternate Southern steampunk world of P.R. Brewer's The Spirit Hollows, spirits have been plaguing the Hollows (formerly Appalachia) where Quinn and Zora live ever since an event called the Great Wakening. Many of the spirits are quite dangerous, and no one seems to know exactly how to deal with them: some try to ward the spirits off with various hexes, while other shadowy cult groups worship them. Zora, who had a traumatic run in with a terrifying spirit in her youth, has invented devices designed to destroy the spirits. But not everyone's happy about that.
The siblings traverse the Hollows, meeting famous spirit spotters, helpful Rangers, dangerous traitors, and a mysterious young woman who believes that she's destined to make peace between the spirits and humanity. When it becomes clear that a bizarrely powerful spirit is personally attacking the group, the teens have to figure out how to take it--and whoever's working with it--down before it's too late. Along the way, Quinn and Zora will also have to deal with their complicated personal lives, including coping with their absent father and their concerned mothers. All in all, P.R. Brewer's The Spirit Hollows is a well-written and exciting fantasy with delightful characters that would appeal to both young adult and adult readers--and luckily it looks like there's a sequel on the way.
Michelle Hogmire is a West Virginian writer with an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. She's the co-founder of the Appalachian publication The Haint. Her work has been featured in Rampant Magazine, BOMB, KGB Bar Lit Mag, & Columbia Journal. She's currently finishing her first book in Chicago.
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