"Beautifully written and deliciously complex, A Dark and Hollow Star is utterly engrossing. The magic is bloody, the humor sharp, and the murder mystery drenched in violence and intrigue. Like a fallen Fury set on vengeance, I couldn’t get enough."
– Nicki Pau Preto, author of the Crown of Feathers series
When the leaders of the magical community turn their backs on a spreading series of murders, dark magic and intrigue draw four young rebels together in this modern fantasy.
Eight Fae Courts rule the Mortal Realm of magic, but, despite their supposed peace with one another, prejudice runs rampant against anyone who isn’t sidhe, particularly the ironborn whose red blood signifies human parentage. When the Courts dismiss a string of unsolved ironborn murders, four unlikely allies join forces to investigate. Chapters primarily rotate among the perspectives of Nausicaä, an exiled Fury with blond hair and suntanned skin who wields a katana; Vehan, a blue-eyed, golden-skinned prince of the Seelie Court of Summer; Aurelian, the prince’s lesidhe retainer and childhood best friend, who has light tan skin; and Arlo, a white-skinned ironborn girl who is related to the High King. The plot offers high stakes, simmering romantic tension, political drama, refreshingly casual representation of queer and transgender characters, and an intriguing magic system that draws inspiration from Dungeons & Dragons. However, the story suffers from consistent, frequent reinforcement of skinny and muscular bodies as most beautiful, with descriptions that quickly grow tiresome.
A gripping flight into fantasy that is heavy-handed in its presentation of conventional beauty standards.
– Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2020
When someone starts slaying human-fae hybrids (dubbed “ironborn” for their blood’s composition), Toronto teen Arlo Jarsdel knows she should lie low. Though her mother is fae, her father is mortal, and she has yet to mature into any powers she could use to defend herself. The Fae Courts’ High King blames the crimes on reckless former Fury and known murderer Nausicaä Kraken—a theory Arlo endorses until Nausicaä saves her life. Against her better judgment (and despite being grounded), Arlo teams up with Nausicaä to catch the real culprit. Aiding their investigation are Nevada teen Vehan Lysterne—a fae prince who believes the attacks are part of a larger plot—and his steward, fellow fae Aurelian Bessel. Sparks fly between Arlo and Nausicaä, while unrequited love complicates Vehan and Aurelian’s already thorny relationship. First in a planned duology, Shuttleworth’s queer urban fantasy debut combines figures from Greek myth and European folklore with elements of tabletop RPGs. If the story feels overstuffed, with villains who all but twirl their mustaches, Shuttleworth sensitively tackles the plot’s darker elements, including trauma and suicidal ideation, tempering them with tenderness and wry wit. A kaleidoscopic narrative adds depth and drive. Ages 14–up. Agent: Mandy Hubbard, Emerald City Literary. (Feb.)
– Publishers WEekly, January 4, 2021