“Hollow Kingdom” by Kira Jane Buxton

Thanks to Headline and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

When I was a young whippersnapper, I loved reading books from an animal’s point of view. Watership Down, The Animals of Farthing Wood, those weird books where anthropomorphic animals are at war with one another….but short of a few examples of Murakami-esque weirdness, it’s not something I’ve come across very much in adult literature.

This book is about Shit Turd, or S.T. for short. S.T. is a tamed American Crow who lives with his human (or MoFo) Big Jim and Dennis, a sweet, but pea-brained, Bloodhound. When the MoFos start acting like deranged Zombies, S.T. and Dennis set out on a quest to find a cure and rescue trapped domestic animals.

Let me just say that this is hands down the funniest book I have read this year. It is hilarious and oh so clever (in a good way) from the outset. Personally, I love Corvids (translation for non bird nerds – crows essentially) and the author has managed to capture their quirky personality and intelligence perfectly. You can really tell that she loves birds which really adds to their personalities.

S.T.’s story is intersected by short chapters from other animals across the globe which are at turns funny and touching. Any cat owner will recognise Genghis Cat’s haughty arrogance and I really liked how the writing style changed depending on the different points of view.

It’s not all laughs however. This novel has a serious underlying message about nature (spoiler – nature doesn’t care about us), climate change and the consequences of worshipping worship. It never feels preachy though, despite the fantastical premise, this story feels grounded firmly in reality. Some parts are genuinely scary though, if you thought The Walking Dead was scary grab your Teddy Bear because you’re in for a wild ride.

This book is at turns a hilarious satire about a crow suffering from identity crisis as well as an epic story about hope, community and survival. You will laugh, you will cry and you’ll probably learn some stuff about birds. This book was an absolute hoot (or should I say caw?) READ IT.

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