Mar 18, 2013

Book Review: Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells

Book Cover: Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells

Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells

Genre: YA Fantasy

Format: Ebook, 320 pages
Published On: April 2, 2013 by Strange Chemistry
Source: Requested for review via NetGalley.

Read an Excerpt

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First Sentence: "Creeping along the docks in the dark, looking for the steamship Marry Bell, Emilie was starting to wonder if it might be better to just walk to Silk Harbor."

From the first sentence, Emilie and the Hollow World pulls you into an incredible adventure and leaves you out of breath. We follow Emilie, sixteen-year-old orphan girl who ran away from the her guardians. Emilie just wanted to escape to her cousin in the other city, but fate had other plans for her. Because, one wrong ship and confusing battle later, Emily is a stowaway, but not on a steam-ship. No, she's on a ship powered by magical aetheric currents that is bound to a dangerous expedition to another world inside the planet (yep the planet is hollow).

Fantasy, adventure and journey to the center of the planet - comparison to the Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth is mandatory. But although Martha Wells's novel has the same spirit of adventure, discovery and wonder, this is not a retelling and worlds we are about to discover are unique and original.

We don't learn much about Emilie's country of origin except that it's similar to Western European culture in 19th century, so I think that Emilie and the Hollow World can not be labeled as neither steampunk or alternative history. No, as soon as we embark on the expedition, this novel is pure fantasy. And the Hollow World is FULL OF WONDERS for us to discover. After Books of the Raksura series, Martha Wells again leaves me breathless with her wonderful descriptions of sunken cities, original cultures and species.

Ancient Palace Ruins by ~BlueRogueVyse [image source]

I liked Emilie very much. I think she really grows up in this book. Emilie finds courage and learns from her mistakes. I especially liked the fact that there is NO ROMANCE. Yes you heard me. Emilie is a real tomboy and enjoys climbing and making mischief with her friends. She never had any other interest in boys. Some would say that it's not normal for a 16-year old girl but as we discover more reasons why Emilie ran away from home and how her guardians treated her, I think that you can better understand why she never allowed herself to look at any boy from a romantic angle. And, realistic or not, I found no romance aspect refreshing.

I feel like a broken record, but I must repeat again how I simply adore Martha Wells style of writing. It's so fluid and easy to read that you will with surprise reach the end of the book in no time. Although the ending is not a cliffhanger and Emilie and the Hollow World is currently a stand-alone novel, I would love to read more about Emilie and her adventures. Lucky for me, I saw at Martha Well's website that 'Emilie and the Sky World' is going to be published in 2014 by Strange Chemistry and I honestly can say that I can't wait!

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

I recommend this book to fans of: Jules Verne, young adult adventure and/or fantasy books for any age, travelling expeditions, discovering new species and continents...

Let's Talk:

Did you read Emilie and the Hollow World? Did you like it? Did you read any other book by Martha Wells?

Do you like books with a lot of adventures? If yes, which is your favorite one? (Mine is The Swiss Family Robinson - I want that tree house!)

Any other thoughts or comments?


  1. And another book for the to-read list! Thank you for the awesome review and bringing this one to my attention :D

    Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings

    1. No problem, I know I didn't talk much about what really happens in a book, but I like to keep it that way, I didn't want to spoil anything. :)

  2. I hadn't heard of this before today, but man, this sounds like something I would love! You had me at the spirit of adventure, discovery, and wonder, but you sold me when you said there was no romance: refreshing indeed!

    1. I hope you like it Kelly, it's not book with some earth-shattering self-discoveries or emotions but I love adventure books and I enjoyed this one. And I definitely liked that Emilie didn't pin or obsess about some boy all the time. :D


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