Feral Creatures (Hollow Kingdom #2) by Kira Jane Buxton

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Knocked it out the park

FeralCreatures

Wow – mind blown.  With dubious feelings I picked up Hollow Kingdom just shy of a year ago and managed to completely fall in love with a strange crow known as ST.  Such a unique concept, an apocalyptic world, destroyed by humans, or mofos as we are known in the Hollow Kingdom, and a story told by animals as they try to survive.  A world where nature is slowly reclaiming her lost territory, until further changes and abominations begin to slowly surface.  I really enjoyed this strange mix of refreshingly original, darkly funny and sometimes slightly horror soaked storytelling and I highly recommend it.

Again, with a dubious heart, I picked up Feral Creatures.  Dubious simply because, well, firstly, I wasn’t expecting a second book so it was a surprise – a very welcome one of course – but then, let’s be honest, sometimes second books suffer the dreaded Middle Book Syndrome and I had such good memories of the first in series – anyway, hold the phone because this book was even more of all the goodness that made Hollow Kingdom such an excellent read.  More animals, more emotion, more fantastic writing.  I loved it.  Now, I know you’re all super excited and want to pick this one up right now, but, listen to my wise words – if you haven’t already read the first then pick that up before reading this- also spoilers may be present for book one so be warned, if you haven’t yet started the series, stop reading now.

Feral Creatures starts almost immediately where Hollow Kingdom left off.  ST is looking after a young human nestling, a baby if you will, known as Dee.  Between ST and the owls they take care of this fragile little human who seems to attract wildlife and nature with apparent ease.  In certain respects you could call this a coming of age tale, also a tale of a parent letting go of their beloved child.  This is a dangerous world and ST doesn’t want to let go, he wants to run and hide with his beloved mofo.  Dee has other ideas.  She thinks she’s part crow, part owl, part bee, well, basically she’s a carefree and wild young woman simply trying to win the approval of her strange family. At the same time as all this ‘coming of age’ tale is taking place the world is changing, humans are changing, and the nature of the wild is in danger.  Dee could be the key to maintaining balance but ST, having already lost two beloved family members, is more intent on keeping her hidden and out of harm’s way.  At the end of the day ST is about to come to terms with the lesson that most parents eventually learn – your children grow up, they want to become adults, they want you to be proud but they want to make their own choices.

In one word I can tell you what I loved about this: everything.  The story itself is again intriguing.  The author manages to bring to you a story of family and the difficulty of letting go of your fledglings.  Dee is a fantastic character but she’s supported by a wonderful cast of animals and birds that simply makes the goosebumps stand up on your arms.  Imagine being beloved of such a range of critters.  It gives me happy feelings.  Then Dee.  Desperate for acceptance, longing for approval, making bold strides forward when ST simply wants to hide her under a rock.  I just loved this dynamic.  How on earth can we have a post apocalyptic world of, quite possibly the strangest make up I’ve ever read, and yet have a completely domestic, family feel between such a discordant bunch of characters. It’s absolutely mind blowing and I loved it.

Now, add to this the writing.  Oh my giddy aunt.  The writing is beautiful. It’s funny  There are references aplenty.  But, more than that, the writing is simply bewitching.  Like, every little bit of what is on the page feels ‘animalistic’ or ‘birdlike’ or from the realm of insects.  It’s simply wonderful.  I feel completely in awe of the writing because every element feels as though it was chosen to help you delve into the wonder of nature.  The animals and their movements are described with a charming simplicity but on top of that all the descriptions have a natural feel to them that brings another element to the story.  Also, wow, so clever.  Don’t be thinking to rush through this because although it is actually a quick read – you need to pay attention or else you will miss so many of the little plays that are going on and they’re just delightful.

My emotions ran riot.  I did actually cry whilst reading this and that is not something that I do lightly or actually admit to very often.  It was the emotional impact of what was going on.  I just couldn’t help myself. There’s a beauty to this, a simplicity and at the same time it just resonates.  How that can actually be possible? I don’t know.  Basically the author has tapped into something here about all creatures and the roles they play.  It’s touching, it’s familiar and it’s insightful.

And of course there are still the horror elements.  This is a world altered beyond recognition.  The beauty of this story is that we don’t really follow or reflect on the human struggle as such and that’s what makes this so gloriously original.

Look, I’m going to stop here.  I think I’ve quite possibly gushed enough.  Frankly I think this will  be one of my top reads of the year.  It certainly surpassed the first and if there is a further instalment, which I suspect might very well be a possibility (please make it happen), well, consider me here for that. In fact just give me the book, now.  Pretty please.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

My rating 5 of 5 stars

4 Responses to “Feral Creatures (Hollow Kingdom #2) by Kira Jane Buxton”

  1. Tammy

    Yes! I agree with everything you said. It was such a well done sequel with so many memorable moments. I just bought a singed copy of the book and got a cool poster of a piece of original artwork relating to the book, its so cool!

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    The first book in this series is on my “need to add to the TBR soon” list, but so far I have not been able to do so: still, I’m very happy to learn that the story keeps going on strong – one more reason to… hasten the process 😉
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Feral Creatures rocked my world so hard! The writing is fantastic, practically every line by S.T. was gold. Love this little crow!

  4. Lexlingua

    That good, huh? I don’t think I’ve read animal POVs in a long, long time — I can only think of Animal Farm, Black Beauty and Call of the Wild. Looks like I need to add Feral Creatures to my list.

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