Book review: Hollow Earth – John and Carole.E Barrowman

Let me first say that this sort of book is not my usual read, as it is not in the age group that I typically enjoy reading – young adults. I would secondly like to say that I have extremely mixed feelings towards this book, and am not sure how I feel about it; so this may be a very self-controversial post.

Although I enjoyed the book, it took me a very long time to finish, which I think is because of its very unusual structure. The book’s chapters are 5 pages long at most, and while the book has around only 320 pages, they accumulate alongside them a mass of 75 chapters. This was a particularly irritating matter for me, as not only do I judge a book quite a lot by its layout; but also because I enjoy reading in chapters, as it usually means the end of one segment of the story, and the beginning of a new. But no. This book is designed so that almost every new turn in conversation has its own chapter. For this reason I only read around 20-30 pages at a time.

Another thing I disliked about this book was all of the unnecessary little things that have been put into it. This not only applies to information, and footnotes, and even entire pages at times; but also to the text within the book. I know the book is written for people younger than myself, and is aiming to appeal to a young teenage demographic, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that this book is poorly written. I will critique a book whether it be for my age group; elders; adults; and even kids in this case, if I feel I should.

The book is written with a good vocabulary, and uses language styles to a good deal; however, a lot of the words and phrases they have used don’t match the rest of the book’s style, and take the reader from their focus. It also makes it seem as though the Barrowmans are using a thesaurus whenever they can, and aren’t actually equipped with an adept vocabulary themselves.

Some things that I can definitely say were good about this book are the story, the characters, and the plot. As far as I am aware, there isn’t another book like this one in terms of its story, and that, honestly, is puzzling. It is so simple and obvious, and yet it so interesting and enthralling. This is something almost everyone in the world must have thought about in their lives, and yet only now with this book, has it become an actual concept and a story. If you want to know what this simple yet amazing idea is, I suggest you read the book.

I think the best part of this book was the plot, and the twist that came with it. My sister was actually the one who lent me this book to read, and she told me that at the end I would be shocked at the plot twist. She was right. All the way through the book there are new mysteries to uncover, new characters being brought in, and new secrets to not be told, and so you are constantly in a state of trying to work things out before they happen; and while more often than not you are right, the ending is something had never even crossed my mind, and that had me completely hooked from then onward.

Another interesting thing about this book was that, although I said the language used was poor, and that the book was badly written; it still had its strong points in those areas. The book was very vivid, which is actually no surprise given what it is about, and really helps the story become more than what it is.

I’m not too sure about the books mythology and geography, as it is sort of a cross between fiction and non-fiction; however their isn’t really any originality there. Also, some of it was very inaccurate, however, this is something that the writers were aware of, as they acknowledge it at the end of the book.

A couple of final remarks on the book… The book is not relatable to at all, however this is an almost irrelevant point, as it is a children’s book, and so its main purpose is to entertain its readers. A second point is that I would really love to see this book adapted into a movie.

While I am still unsure about how I feel about this book, I can say I enjoyed it, and that it has both good and bad sides. The overall story and plot was intriguing and capturing; however the book itself was poorly written. I feel a wider demographic that its aimed at, could enjoy this book; though only a small portion of each age group would enjoy it. Because of this, I recommend it to any young teens and children who enjoy this type of book – mysterious, yet adventurous and magical – and to anyone who feels they could do with a story that is unlike others they may have read.

I give this book a 2.9/5


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