Title: Hollow Kingdom
Author: Kira Jane Buxton
S.T., a domesticated crow, is a bird of simple pleasures: hanging out with his owner Big Jim, trading insults with Seattle’s wild crows (those idiots), and enjoying the finest food humankind has to offer: Cheetos ®.
Then Big Jim’s eyeball falls out of his head, and S.T. starts to feel like something isn’t quite right. His most tried-and-true remedies–from beak-delivered beer to the slobbering affection of Big Jim’s loyal but dim-witted dog, Dennis–fail to cure Big Jim’s debilitating malady. S.T. is left with no choice but to abandon his old life and venture out into a wild and frightening new world with his trusty steed Dennis, where he discovers that the neighbors are devouring each other and the local wildlife is abuzz with rumors of dangerous new predators roaming Seattle. Humanity’s extinction has seemingly arrived, and the only one determined to save it is a foul-mouthed crow whose knowledge of the world around him comes from his TV-watching education.
Hollow Kingdom is a humorous, big-hearted, and boundlessly beautiful romp through the apocalypse and the world that comes after, where even a cowardly crow can become a hero.
Oh man – what can I say about this weird, profound, and generally wonderful book? Like most of my new favorites lately, this one came as a recommendation from my fiance. Though he’s not a reader, we’ve been together long enough that he knows exactly what will get my attention, and when he saw this book about a foul-mouthed crow in the zombie apocalypse, he singled it out as definitely something I’d love. And he wasn’t wrong.
Hollow Kingdom follows S.T. (short for Shit Turd) the domesticated crow as he navigates the world after humanity succumbs to a plague that leaves them as something akin to zombies. Armed with his instincts and the things he’s learned from living with a MoFo (his term for human, learned from Big Jim), S.T. takes on the apocalypse with a sense of longing for what was lost and a wicked sense of humor. His interactions with other animals are absolutely gold, and his relationship with Dennis the dog is as loving as any human’s attachment to their dog. Their adventure through what’s left of Seattle as they try to save the remaining domesticated animals is a heartwarming, touching one that easily goes from causing giggles to tears at the drop of a hat.
I can’t remember the last time I was so moved by a book.
I also found myself constantly highlighting parts I want to remember, and quotes that spoke to me on a deep level. This book really is something else, and despite the grim topic and often sad tones, it left me feeling light and hopeful for humanity. It really is just an all-around awesome piece of literature that everyone should read, regardless of what they’re into.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the book that pretty much encases the general tone/feeling that lingers long after you’ve finished reading:
“Because we never give up on anything, especially love, and that’s the very, very best thing about being a MoFo.”