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Hollow World

Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
Length: 12 hrs and 27 mins
4 out of 5 stars (856 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The future is coming...for some more than others.

Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing. But when he is faced with a terminal illness, Ellis is willing to take an insane gamble. He's built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he'll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. Ellis could find more than a cure for his disease; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time has begun - but only if he can survive the Hollow World.

©2014 Michael J. Sullivan (P)2014 Recorded Books

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Carol
  • Massachusetts
  • 04-17-14

We Aren't in Riyria Any More

If you are a huge fan of Michael Sullivan's "Riyria Revelations" (as I am), you may be disappointed by the storyline of this book. If you love Hadrian and Royce and Gwen and Arista (as I do), you may be disappointed by the characters in this book. If you are simply a fan of Sullivan's writing (as I am), or if you like thought-provoking social commentary with offbeat sort-of science fiction, you may like this book.

Elements of the book reminded me of "Looking Backward," an 1888 book by Edward Bellamy. It is a change to see a vision of the future that had at least some elements of utopia, rather than the bleak and brutal dystopian futures portrayed in most 21st century novels. But 2,000 years is a long time (trying to go 200 years into the future, our MIT-trained protagonist miscalculates by an order of magnitude), and this future is indeed weird.

Definitely a change of pace for Michael Sullivan, and not something I would have chosen if he hadn't been the author. "Hollow World" lives up to his high standards as a novelist, and I'm not exactly sorry I listened to it, but, unlike the "Riyria" books, it's not something I'd want to listen to a second time.

58 of 67 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Sensitive Reader Alert: Quite a bit of profanity

Is there anything you would change about this book?

There is quite a bit of profanity in this book, including the use of the F-word, that may dishearten sensitive readers.

Would you be willing to try another book from Michael J. Sullivan? Why or why not?

I enjoy Michael J. Sullivan's other books - the Riyria Chronicles, Riyria Revalations, and Legends of the First Empire.There is not nearly as much profanity in them.

What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Jonathan Davis does a good job with the reading of the story. I enjoyed his narration, and would definitely listen to another narration by him.

Any additional comments?

The story idea is interesting. The story itself is well-written and catches your interest right away. Personally, I couldn't finish the book simply because I got tired of the profanity.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A Good Read!!

This was a good read, I don't think that i'll be reading it again though... It had a good point of view regarding the future, and how it could happen or be like but thats basically it....
There were several twists through the book which were predictable easily and i didn't enjoy knowing what will happen.

I do love Micheal Sullivan's work, but this one wasn't as great or good as his other work.

Honestly, I just bought the book without knowing what it will be about exactly, I don't regret it of course, it was a good read, but for some reason i've expected something else.

If you like books that show how the future might be like and so on, then you will like this book.

27 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Entertaining Read, Not Quite Exceptional.

I'm a big fan of Michael J. Sullivan. Which of course means I love the Riyria based books. When I saw Hollow World come up for sale I had to buy it in spite of the very different subject matter. I wish I could say I enjoyed Hollow World as much as any of the Riyria books, but don't think this is quite up to that level of quality.

I like how different in nature this protagonist is from any of his previous main characters. He is a good man, but has some moral flaws and past regrets that color his current personality. That being said, he lacks the charm and charisma of Royce or Hadrian. If you don't know who I'm talking about you need to stop reading this and check out the authors other series immediately. I guess I found him a little boring overall.

Although MJS's other works are fantasy, I also enjoy Sci-Fi and was excited to see how he handled the genre. Since he's so adept at writing epic tales I thought this book would have a much grander story arch. In reality, it's more of a standard thriller with an added Sci-Fi dimension. This by itself is a fine premise for a book, I was just expecting it to be more exceptional considering MJS's talents.

What did I like about the book? Well the future "Hollow World" setting is quite thought provoking. He doesn't shy away from envisioning a wildly divergent evolutionary path
that we could take while showing how some basic traits/failings of humanity will always follow us. I found his world thought provoking but also slightly repulsive in it's order/homogeneity. Months later I still catch myself preforming thought experiments on the society he created. It's very interesting to think about how life would be like in that environment

I'm trying not to give the story away, but I found the main plot device to be rather outlandish. While story was told with proper pacing and excitement, I had a hard time buying some people's motivations and actions.

All in all, I'm happy I used a credit on this audiobook. I don't feel it's wasted at all. Of course I can think of several better books in this genre which I would recommend before Hollow World. If you're a MJS fan, you might want to read this regardless. Just keep in mind it's no Riyria Revelations.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A departure from his main body of work, but WORTH the read!

I am a huge fan of the Riyria duo and how the characters came alive through my stereo. I listened to every book and I was seriously bummed when I heard that dreaded phrase ‘the end.’ I didn’t know if I could become invested in another genre and am please to tell you that this book, that I just finished’ is every bit as good as Michael J. Sullivan’s most popular series. The story line is a complete departure but if you’re like me, you won’t be disappointed!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Futuristic Tale & Enjoyable Read

It's taken me a long time to figure out how to write a review for this book without including spoilers. Many of the reasons why I enjoyed the book are key points of the story- either plot or character based. The only thing that I knew about the book prior to starting it was that it involved time travel - all of my other preconceived notions were completely wrong. (Which is my fault for drawing unsubstantiated conclusions.) As a result, I spent the first few chapters of the book being shocked & surprised. The audio version of the book comes with a free copy of the ebook version. I knew the book had my hooked when I started flipping back & forth between the two versions because I HAD to at least finish the chapter.

What did I like about this book? Many of the story conflicts; the very different (opposing) viewpoints regarding the same events; and the outstanding imagery. This is one of the most visually stimulating books I've read recently.

There is a high probability that SOMETHING in this book will either offend you or make you uncomfortable. This isn't Riyria- this book has a far different tone than that universe. It is the type of book that will make you think and may even have you questioning what you would do in the same situations. Would I read another book set in this universe? Yes = this book feels like the pebble thrown into pond- the ripples created are still expanding & it would be very interesting to see what happens next.

The narrator, Jonathan Davis, is excellent.

One other hint: don't skip over the author notes at the beginning and end of the book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Instant Classic, Makes You Think, Great Characters

This story was so much more than I was expecting. I was expecting it to be great and enjoyable because I like the author's writing, but this book has so much more in it than a good tale. It makes you think, a lot. It deals with a ton of huge concepts and ideas but not in a heavy handed way. You discover things with the protagonist and it comes off so well in the story. As Ellis Rogers, the main character, is discovering things and rethinking his worldview you find yourself as a reader contemplating the same issues as well. I don't want to give any spoilers away but I'll just say that this is a time travel novel and the society that Ellis discovers in the future is an amazing place to visit, but also something that really makes you think about a ton of issues.

Okay so the book makes you think, but it's also really fun, has characters you will love and love to hate, and fantastic settings. I really enjoyed my visit to Hollow World and you will too. The people you'll meet and the places you'll visit you won't soon forget and you'll think back on fondly when you finish the story. I found myself rooting for the main character and enjoying his journey. He was written really well. Very believable motivations, very fleshed out and real. I feel as if I've met him. A certain person of the future, the one on the book cover, is my favorite character though. His name is Pax and he is awesome. You'll see what I mean when you read or listen to the story. The audiobook is how I read this by the way and the narrator Jonathan Davis did a fantastic job. I've heard him read a few Star Wars novels and so I knew I was in good hands but he really made this story shine. I especially loved the way he voiced the antagonist of the story.

There's so much more I could say about his book like the fact that it also made me laugh a lot, but I don't want to spoil anything. I have no problem calling this novel an instant classic and I think that anyone who's a fan of Science Fiction would agree. To sum up, great characters, cool settings, thought provoking issues brought up by a difference in the society of the future our protag discovers. Five stars all the way baby.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful, engaging, thought-provoking story

This is what science fiction should be: a strange and exciting world, vaguely similar to our own, but that is filled with tantalizing differences and three-dimensional characters who collectively provoke the mind, the heart, and the conscience.

The historical and technological developments that have led to the fictionalized universe presented in Hollow World are, all at once, intriguing, and exciting, and frightening. Sullivan does a fantastic job of showing us the good and the bad of Hollow World, and has filled this fictional future with characters who, for the most part, are very three-dimensional and realistic--no small feat, given the premise of the story.

The narration by Jonathan Davis and the production by Recorded Books is simply phenomenal. Davis does a fantastic job of conveying the emotions and richness of the characters and has made this wonderful story even better.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not for me

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Possible spoiler alert! I did not like the twist and relationship in the end. Just overall creepy to me. But hey, I felt the same way about the Avatar relationship!

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Possible spoiler! I don't know how I would change it. I guess change the ending love thing. Just too out there for me.

What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Excellent narrator. Good choice.

Was Hollow World worth the listening time?

No, not for me- but only because it's not my cup of tea type ending. Now Michael Sullivan's Riyria series is worth listening to repeatedly! But I think a lot of people, Riyria fans included will enjoy Hollow World. Characters are very good. World building very good.

Any additional comments?

I need to add that I actually enjoyed the story until the ending relationship twist, so to speak. It was a deal breaker for me. I really like the world building, and some of the issues presented were quite interesting, like what it means to be human and what love truly is. I just didn't agree with what I think the author wanted me to believe/feel. Could be wrong though, maybe he just wanted me to think. It did do that! In sum, I think Michael Sullivan is an excellent writer and although, this book didn't quite do it for me, I will still continue to purchase his books as fast as he can get them out. Michael if you ever read these reviews, please more Riyria stories! My husband and I love them! You are one of our top 5 authors!

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Can't go wrong with Sullivan

Michael J Sullivan is hands-down my favorite author. I LOVE his multiple Riyria collections and his ongoing Legends series.
While I enjoy science fiction in television and movies (I'm a big Trekkie), I mostly gravitate toward fantasy when it comes to books. So I was a little anxious going into this one because I love Sullivan so much but I'm very picky when it comes to the science in my science fiction (after all I love Star Trek more than Star Wars). He even prefaces the book by saying "yes, the science of time travel in this story isn't perfect, but please try to enjoy the ride". His explanation of the means of time travel was more than satisfactory for me. Not so wibbly-wobbley-timey-wimey that it detracted from the story. Funny though that much of the tech in this book is reminiscent of Star Trek, it made me smile.

Like all of Sullivan's writing, this book was very easy to get into and the characters were relatable. I found myself looking for excuses to listen to it. The story tied up together very nicely, and while some of the ideologies discussed in this book would be controversial to some, I was satisfied with what the main character learned in the end.

And yes, this book has swearing. F'ing fine by me! For those that don't like it, get over it, its how real people talk. There are ebook versions of this title that Mr. Sullivan put out without swearing, after a fan pressured him to censor himself (shame on her).

Although the rest of Sullivan's book are narrated by Tim Gerrard Reynolds (who is amazing btw), the narrator in this one did a phenomenal job. He doesn't do voices quite as well as Tim, but I wouldn't hesitate to listen to him again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful