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The Hollow People by Brian Keaney
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The Hollow People

by Brian Keaney

Other authors: Nicoletta Ceccoli (Illustrator)

Series: The Promises of Dr. Sigmundus (1)

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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I have this absolutely ridiculous, probably unhealthy love of dystopian fiction. If it takes place in a nasty-sounding society with lots of crazy government and crazier people in charge of it -- I'm so there. If it's futuristic-y, or science fiction-y, or fantasy-y [ugh, I know, but I had to keep the pattern up] -- then I'm there in 1/2 the time. So, I feel like I should get that disclaimer out of the way because I've been reading a LOT of dystopian fiction lately. It's like I'm on a major pessimism kick or something. Who knows. But here's another dystopian, the first in a series.

The Hollow People was a pretty good read. It had the hallmark of a good dystopian, which is the crazy authorities who have gone, well... crazy. And have thus created a society in which everyone is controlled intensely, situated on the isolated island of Tarnegar, home to a mental asylum and a small community made up of those who work at the institution. In this book, the controlling is done through the use of a drug called Ichor, which makes people become obedient mush and suppresses their dreams. But unbeknownst to those in charge, Dante the lowly kitchen boy is still dreaming. And so does Beatrice, but that's because he has yet to go through the coming of age ceremony where kids receive their first dosing of Ichor. Beatrice, however, has been dreaming of a ruined city and this makes her interesting to both Dante and one of the asylum's "patients" (really prisoners), Ezekiel. I don't want to say much more than that so that I don't give away too much. But there's a little bit of magic, some adventure, and a whole lot of creepiness. (Asylums freak me out.)

The book is definitely an interesting one, particularly if you're as crazy as I am about dystopian novels. It was a pretty quick read and the story's pace was good. I enjoyed it and will be reading the next book in the trilogy. (They've all been released now, which is nice.) ( )
  crazylilcuban | Jul 31, 2012 |
Teen son loved this book. ( )
  joelle.casteel | Jun 14, 2012 |
The book is creepy, and very dark. It is about mentally disturbed people.
4Q, 4P
This book is best suited for middle and highschoolers.
It was selected due to the subject and how it's presented, the cover made it look interesting.
Grade: 10th
CS-AHS-NC
  edspicer | May 18, 2011 |
When I first picked up this book I thought it was from the paranormal genre. Then I took a closer look and it was an interesting blend of dystopia with some paranormal characteristics. I really did enjoy the dystopia aspect of the book. Dreams are taboo and you’re sent to the asylum if you have one and talk about it. It was an interesting idea and concept. However the pace was a little slow for me and it took me longer than usual to finish this book (despite its short length).

The theme and setting certainly had a good dark tone to it. It’s set in an asylum for the most part and when an extremely ‘dangerous’ inmate arrives that’s all the excitement that happens in the asylum. The mystery surrounding Dante and his past was good and connections were slowly being revealed. I really did like Dante as a character and the story does surround on his development as a character. Bea is more like a female sidekick to the story and although she has her own story arc as well it’s not as interesting as Dante’s.

Towards the ending of the book it got more interesting, except for a certain sequence where after re-reading the passage for about 3 times I’m still wondering what in the world happened. The cliffhanger though was very good and it does entice the reader to go search for the second one. I’m not sure if I’m going to pursue this series further. Although interesting and different when it comes to dystopian novels out there, the pace was just too slow for me and it just got a little too strange at the end. Plus, the cover is very very deceiving. You would expect to get a gothic horror novel but end with a dystopian world where dreams are illegal. Not a bad trade off, but with a slow start and slow moving pace this might deter readers (or not).

So, I’m not sure if I would recommend this book to others as I did not enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I would say pick this up if you want to read something that’s a little different from the rest of the dystopian novels out there. Otherwise, take it or leave it. ( )
  sensitivemuse | Mar 19, 2011 |
Dante, a bottom-tier kitchen boy at a psychiatric prison on the island of Tarnegar, meets Bea, a physician’s daughter, and reveals a secret. Despite receiving the drug Ichor, he still dreams. Although the promises of Dr. Sigmundus say that dreams are the sign of an unfit mind, Bea begins to question the teachings as she ponders her place in society. In this dystopian novel, several central themes emerge including dreams, social equity, and simulated realities. Glimpses into Bea and Dante’s daily activities and thoughts allow the reader to fully understand the implications of social immobility in Tarnegar. Text in the first half of the book flows smoothly with several thought provoking moments, but the second portion seem rushed and slightly contrived. At times, the sinister tone and philosophical dialog evoke memories of The Matrix, but the work offers a unique setting that will keep the audience hungry for more. Teens interested in dystopian fiction will be eager to check out the other two books in the Promises of Dr. Sigmundus trilogy. Grades 9+ ( )
  rebkamp | Mar 5, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brian Keaneyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ceccoli, NicolettaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375843329, Hardcover)

ON THE SINISTER ISLAND where strict obedience to the laws of the mysterious Dr. Sigmundus holds sway, dreaming will get you locked up and branded a lunatic, a danger to society and to all who know you. In this doomed and repressive place, two teens that were never meant to meet or share their dreams, cross paths and set in motion that which rips them from the lives they were meant to lead. Together they join forces with a ragtag group of rebel forces bent on breaking the grip of lies and illusions their countrymen have accepted without question.

For fans of thoughtful science fiction and fantasy, The Hollow People opens a window on the unseen worlds that surround us. It is the first installment in The Promises of Dr. Sigmundus. Book II will continue the tale in fall 2008.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:43 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

On an island that houses the asylum where law-breakers are imprisoned, two teenagers rebel against a rigidly controlled society where dreams are considered antisocial and all citizens over the age of fourteen take a drug to control their behavior.

» see all 2 descriptions

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