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The Hollow: Sign Of Seven #2    by Nora Roberts order for
by Nora Roberts
Order:  USA  Can
Jove, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

When they were adventurous boys of ten, best friends and blood brothers Fox, Gage and Cal never imagined that their overnight campout beside the fabled Pagan Stone would rouse an ancient and vengeful demon imprisoned within. Every seven years thereafter the demon returns to the Hollow to wreak havoc on their town. Now grown men, the trio have come to understand and accept that they are responsible for the demon's release as well as its eventual destruction once it rises for the final time.

They are joined by three special women, each of whom is only just discovering her own mysterious powers and ties to the demon. But time is running out. They've learned very little either about the origins of the demon, or of the ancestors who previously fought it, and time and again lost their battle to thwart the demon. When Layla Kinski is visited by a ghost who reveals the existence of a set of journals hidden away on the farm where Fox grew up, both she and Fox pool their psychic talents to locate the journal. When the demon tries to stop them they narrowly escape disaster and realise that their love is the most powerful tool against their enemy.

Roberts can't be faulted for her character development and the interesting reincarnation based romance she develops between Fox and Layla. It's the pacing and overall tone of the story that lacks her usual flair. The Hollow quickly falls victim to a very slow beginning and a sagging middle, filled with repetitive scenes and dialogue. The demon also employs far too many redundant and trite scare tactics in its efforts to permanently sway its enemies from destroying it. The later part of the story does pick up, however, and present new revelations that will be continued in the concluding book. Unfortunately, all of it comes a little too late to make The Hollow anything more than a lacklustre middle instalment.

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