Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan – Book Review [Bane of Kings]


Milo, aka “Bane of Kings, covers Michael J. Sullivan’s Hollow World, a self-published science fiction novel involving time travel that comes from the author of the epic fantasy series entitled The Riyria Revelations, that were initially self published but now can be found published from Orbit Books.

“An excellent read, Hollow World is a must read for all those who have enjoyed the Riyria Revelations and are looking for something different. Engrossing, imaginative and incredibly awesome – Hollow World may be one of the best books of the year.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

The future is coming…for some, sooner 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 faced with a terminal illness, he’s 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. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World.

Welcome to the future and a new sci-fantasy thriller from the bestselling author of The Riyria Revelations.

I’m a massive fan of Michael J. Sullivan and have really enjoyed his Riyria Revelations novels, so it really was a no brainer that I was going to read Hollow World and after receiving an review copy (I completely missed the kick-starter, otherwise I would have no doubt put money towards it if I could), I got stuck right into the book and ended up really enjoying it. It’s a risk on Sullivan’s part to move away from the fantasy setting of his Riyria Revelations – but the book actually works because of that risk, it feels fresh – as though we’re reading a novel by the author for the first time, rather than following the end of a series that spanned multiple novels including its very own two-book prequel. So I applaud Sullivan for trying something new and It really pays off as a result – the book is gripping, enthralling and hard to put down.

HollowWorldHollow World opens in Modern Day Detroit and following the collapsing of Ellis Rogers’ life, he uses a time machine that he created in his garage and with nothing left to lose – hurls himself 2,000 (initially only meaning to go 200) years into the future in an attempt to find a better world. However, things don’t quite turn out as planned, as just as soon as he arrives he’s thrown into a conspiracy where his only ally is a character simply known as Pax.

The book blends some great themes together, exploring complex and personal questions like politics and religion, and juggles with the world building aspect incredibly well – Sullivan doesn’t bog the reader down with any information dumping and keeps to a fast paced style that fans of his previous series will enjoy – it moves along quickly and we never really get any slow parts during the book – and as a result that’s why I couldn’t put this down, with an interesting backdrop that sees humans now living in the safety of underneath the planet following a series of global disasters that made the world above unsafe to live on – the people of the future now live in great caverns under the world, thus the title of the novel Hollow World. There’s no space opera and grand voyages through space to be found in this science fiction novel – but they aren’t required to tell a good science fiction novel and Hollow World makes the most of a book set on Earth with a compelling and engaging read.

If I had to point out one problem with Hollow World is that it did take a while to get going. Sullivan’s pace for the most part of the novel may be page-turning and awesome, but it does take a while to get going. Once you’re in the future though you should be well and truly hooked – because Sullivan will weave a compelling and strong tale that you won’t be able to put down.

All that said though, Hollow World is an excellent read – Michael J. Sullivan has written one of the better novels of the year so far and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. Great stuff.


Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and a prolific reviewer who can be found on many places on the internet usually under the same username – when he’s not trying to catch up on the many seasons of Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


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