The Hollow by Nora Roberts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
As the second book in the Sign of Seven trilogy, The Hollow continues the battle against the Big Evil that started in Blood Brothers. It helps to read the 1st book before jumping into this one, but you don't really have to because NR does a good job recapping the previous events - and she does it without making it sound like info dumping.
I'm not going to write a plot summary here because, quite frankly, the basic storyline of this book is similar to Blood Brothers's and I've already written a full review on that one. All the "gang" (Cal, Fox, Gage, Quinn, Layla and Cybil) is still trying to find the key to defeat the evil demon that plays havoc in the otherwise peaceful town of Hawkins Hollow every seven years. The only difference is, we have another main H/h working on their HEA this time: charming small town lawyer Fox O'Dell and annoying (former) big city boutique manager Layla Darnell.
Unfortunately, the romance between Fox and Layla didn't spark my interest. I didn't feel a strong emotional connection between them, which was strange considering the "psychic gift" they shared, and the sexual tension was close to nonexistent. There was no build-up to it: they acknowledge the attraction between them, he says he wants to sleep with her, she replies saying that they need to focus on vanquishing the Big Evil so he shouldn't pressure her, he agrees, yada yada yada, then she changes her mind out of the blue and decides to sleep with him after all. It was all so... unromantic.
I liked Fox well enough, but Layla grated on my nerves big time. I know I complained about Quinn, the heroine in Blood Brothers, being too assertive and I feel like I should be eating crow now. Layla was Quinn's complete opposite, and her I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-my-life attitude bugged me to the point that I wished she had been more like Quinn. NR just went from one extreme to the other when "drawing" them, and neither was very likeable.
As for the suspense/PNR part of the story, it was good but not too thrilling. At times, all they did was sit and talk, talk, talk... until my eyes started to glaze and I had to take a break. Thankfully, the sporadic demon's attacks were entertaining and scary, and kept me from being bored to tears. Overall, the "gang" made some progress in their battle against the Big Evil, but there was no resolution in sight yet - which was expected, considering there's still one more book to go in this trilogy.
All in all, this was just an OK read. It was kind of disappointing because I expected more from it, but it wasn't bad. I feel the next and last book, The Pagan Stone, will be better - not only because Gage and Cybil are more interesting than Fox and Layla, but also because I'll finally find out how the Big Evil will be defeated. Or will he?
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