Cover Image: Hollen the Soulless

Hollen the Soulless

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Member Reviews

A wild barbarian has his sights set on Joselyn. He'll do whatever he must to claim her, and he'll start by giving her his mark.

Captive brides? ✔️
Dragon riders? ✔️
Enemies to lovers? ✔️
Hot, Viking barbarians? ✔️✔️✔️

One Audible credit will get you Book #1 in the series AND also the prequel novella which Shane narrated together for one giant mega-fantasy experience you won't want to miss!!! 🤩

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3 stars
Well I finished this one, I think some things could be tightened in the story line. The pacing also felt off.

Shane East did a great job narrating!

I received this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this unbiased review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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This fantasy romance was different than I expected. The setup is very Ice Barbarians, following a group of male warriors who steal brides. And they ride dragons! I love this premise. The first half of the book was nicely domestic, with the stolen bride getting to know the other women and learning about this life. The romance is closed-door, so it was a long, slow burn full of tension. Perfect.

Then there was a sharp turn into violence and torture. With this change, the book fit more into the grimdark fantasy represented by the cover, but this departure was very abrupt and did not cohere well with the earlier story.

I really enjoyed the world and writing style, so I am interested in reading more in this series. I just hope there is more romance and less violence in future installments.

This book was read by the amazing Shane East. He was wonderful, as always, and makes the book especially engaging.

I listened to this audiobook through NetGalley.

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Lady Jocelyn is a highborn lady, set to marry a man that has deadly secrets against her father. She is dutiful and plans on respecting her fathers wishes to save her people and hopefully earn the love and respect from her father that she so desperately wants.

However, before that can happen, Jocelyn is stolen by a creature and brought to Hollen, the leader of an alpha warrior tribe. Hollen is determined to make Jocelyn love him, but Jocelyn fights him around every corner and refuses to give into his charm.

Hollen has a year to win her heart or lose her forever. Jocelyn has a choice to make and she needs to make it quickly before someone else makes it for her.

Thank you so much to the author for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I loved Hollen and his people. He was a fantastic leader and a great man, even though the concept of kidnapping a woman to make your wife sounds...wrong, Day makes it work so good.

For over half the book though, I could not stand Jocelyn. I didn’t not like her character, the way she treated Hollen and his people, and the need to be a martyr when literally no one but her father is asking her. Hollen definitely deserved better.

Despite her, I did enjoy the book and I can’t wait to read more!

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I don't know how I never thought to consider that a mashup of my love of romance and fantasy would make the perfect book, but I guess Denali Day wrote what I needed to read to show me the truth of that. She created a world full of history and culture and traditions that the reader can just plunge into and explore.

Hollen is the chief of his wyvern-riding tribe and ready to find himself a bride, so he does what the Dokiri have always done and abducts the woman that catches his eye. Who he chooses is Joselyn, the only daughter of a tyrannical lord that only sees her as a pawn to get himself out of trouble by marrying her off to a man known for his sadistic and violent tendencies. Thus begins a story of two people getting to know and love each other even while cultural clashes and Joselyn's misguided loyalty keep getting in the way. It's an exciting and sometimes violent story that gives the characters room to grow and the reader the chance to explore a creatively realized world.

There was a momentary twinge over the old trope of abduction and the first thing that Hollen does to Joselyn, but the super respectful way that the Dokiri treat their brides and the fact that nothing happens without full consent eventually helped me just enjoy the story and turn a bit of a blind eye to that detail. It might not be possible for everyone to do that, but the story really is worth giving it chance.

Overall, I really enjoyed the world that Day created with the Dokiri and I'm looking forward to seeing all the brothers find their brides. I particularly need to know that young Sigvard finds happiness.

The narration by Shane East is pitch-perfect. He does a delightfully growly Hollen, and switches between characters and moods seamlessly to set each scene perfectly. I suspect that a portion of my enjoyment of the story had something to do with how good a job he does in narrating.

Many very happy thanks to NetGalley and Podium Audio for the early listen!

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If you like the Game of Thrones and the Throne of Glass series, then this will be an easy, enjoyable read for you! Tough Wyvern riding mountain men, beautiful duty-bound women, and lots of headbutting and steamy parts in between!! I truly kept cleaning the house just to keep listening to the story...it was that good! And the narrator, Shane East, is phenomenal!

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It was my very first novel of the genre–specifically in the romance genre, because I’ve read some ‘classical’ fantasy before–and I was surprised. Pleasantly so.

First of all, the world building, though not completely original, was very well done. The species, the societies, the geography… all depicted an interesting world with enough details that the reader could be transported there without too much effort. Some elements were even quite vivid. Not sure I want to go there though, it’s hostile.

The kidnapping trope and everything it entails could be seen as cringey. But the author created rules and traditions that restored consent and put it at the forefront, and in the meantime it prompted many intense scenes between Joselyn and Hollen. Too bad it was closed door though, I’d have loved to read about Joselyn and Hollen’s intimacy.

That guy was a lovely take of the alpha male character. He was strong, massive, powerful, but he’d do anything for his woman, including dying if necessary. Joselyn, on the other hand, was a headstrong character who discovered both her softer side and her real strength through her contact with the Dokiri people, especially Hollen and his brother.

Family was a big part of the plot, with Hollen’s and Joselyn’s completely opposite. The contrast, if not subtle, was an interesting touch.

I enjoyed the narration quite a lot. The male narrator working solo was enough to convey all the emotions of the characters, and even all the characters–I loved the various voices. And I especially enjoyed the bonus novella in the audiobook, and even found it more entertaining and more fast paced than the novel itself. I want more.

Quickie

- Series: Dokiri brides #1 (can be read as a standalone)
- Hashtags: #fantasy romance #paranormal romance #abduction #bonding #warrior #virgin #wyvern
- Triggers: violence, death, abduction
- Main couple: Joselyn Fury & Hollen
- Hotness: 1/5
- Romance: 4/5
- + I loved the deleted scenes included in the audio version
- – “intimacy behind closed doors” definitely isn’t my thing…

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QOTD: When listening to Audiobooks; do you sometimes fall asleep and dream about that world and place yourself in it?
I have read the entire series of the Dokiri Brides so far and love all of them! Denali Day is an amazing writing and such a sweet person! I was invited to review the Audio version of Hollen the Soulless; which I immediately hopped on! How could I refuse!
The narrator is Shane East which I believe is well known throughout the Audiobook world; I think I’ve heard him do some other big name books. I will be honest and say that for this book I wouldn’t speed it up because the voice sounds more Italian then. Absolutely nothing wrong with that; but I think just, like I said, when sped up even by 2x, it doesn’t sound good. I don’t think Day was going for that in this book; so I would highly recommend going the normal speed. I think the voice should match the character; and if a person is doing multiple characters in a book, they need to be able to handle female voices. When East did the female lines I turned the volume down; I truly couldn’t stand it.
If you like Shane East in audiobooks, awesome! Nothing wrong with that at all. I do too in other books, my personal opinion was just not in this series unfortunately. I really hate saying anything bad about this cause Denali Day is an extremely amazing author! But my personal opinion is: If this was my first encounter with the book, I would not go any farther with the series.
So I’m glad I read the whole series on kindle first; because it is an amazing series! I’ve gotten 3 other friends to read it, another friend is borrowing my physical copies right now and reading them! Day is working on the last one I believe and it's going to be phenomenal!

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Book: Hollen the Soulless (Denali Day)
Rating: 5⭐️
Format: Audio (Shane East 5⭐️)
Genre: Fantasy romance
Smut: 🔥
Trigger warning: Abduction

Summary:
Khal Drogo meets the Vikings.
Romance meets epic fantasy.
Lady Joselyn meets Hollen the Soulless.

Favourite character: Hollen. SERIOUS Rhys heat levels added with flavours from Khal Drogo and Bjorn Ironside. Holy smokes and sweet wyverns! GIVE ME MORE!!

To whom: To lovers of Maas, Armentrout, ToG, the Vikings, and fantasy. This is everything and more, easily one of my favourite books - and series!

Additional notes:
Shane East, people! He did a brilliant job with this one and I'm all for relistening bits and pieces while suffering from this hangover! This book has been one of my favourites since I read it (still, no abducting others, bad Hollen!) and I died very happily a couple of times listening to Mr East's (hot) narration!


✨Thank you so much Podium Audio, Denali Day and NetGalley for sending me this audiobook to listen and review!

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The story is set in a medial fantasy type of world. And it has a very different approach from other fantasy books. This story is fresh and unlike other fantasy books I have read. The characters are likable, even if I wanted to smack the heroine a few times.
The first half was a little slow, I wish there was more action. But then it picks up and skyrockets with action and tension. Overall a great story.

And there's a bonus novella at the end too, which I totally enjoyed. The banter between the two main characters was great.

I love this narrator. I have listened to several books narrated by Shane East, and that's what first grabbed my attention. I'm glad I decided to listen to this book.

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I've had the Dokiri Brides series on my TBR for awhile now, so I was super happy to be able to listen to Hollen the Soulless early! And let me say, it did not disappoint and I will be reading the rest of the series, stat!

Shane East is an absolutely fantastic narrator. He performs each character's distinct voice quite well and his voice is really easy to listen to and get lost in making diving into the story that much easier.

As for the story itself, it was exactly what you'd expect and hope for after reading the synopsis. The way Hollen and Joselyn's relationship grew over the course of the story was great. Plenty of tension and romance woven into an intriguing plot! I definitely recommend giving this one a listen!


Thank you Podium Audio via NetGalley for the early copy to listen to and honestly review.

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A fantasy romance about a Lady of a noble house being snatched up by a dragon-like beast and its rider and being forced into marriage with the said rider.

There are so many things in this book that had me saying, "What the hell?" First, there is the ritual to make some poor kidnapped woman your new wife. I was just floored that a man who wants this woman to love him would ever think that was okay.

Then there is the fact that this entire clan of badass warrior men kidnapping women to make into their wives and have their babies... And somehow all the women are just like laughing it off to a woman who has just been through and still experiencing something traumatic. They all think it's okay and justified... Um, Stockholm Syndrome much? Oh, also, what the hell do all these women do? They don't fight or ride the sky beast like the men, which I find very un-progressive for a romance novel... I just don't understand, why not?

Also, I felt like it was building to a very passionate sex scene, but alas it was basically a closed-door...

Was I entertained? Yes. Did I support anything that happened in the book, even in a fictional fantasy realm? Nah.

Now on to the narrator- His voice was smooth and easy to listen to when it wasn't dialog, but the voices both for the woman and the thick accents of the savage cave/mountain-dwelling men made me cringe. Maybe I am not meant for audiobooks, because the voices definitely ruin the mental picture in my head.



*Thank you NetGalley and Podium Audio for my gifted audiobook in exchange for my honest opinion.

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*"How far is your home?" she asked, praying to the gods it wasn't far. Her captor leaned even closer to whisper in her ear. "When you have wings, everything is nearby."*

Joselyn is weeks away from marrying a rival lord in order to secure the future of her father’s house. However, she suddenly finds herself taken captive and wedded to Hollen the Soulless. He must win over her heart all while she tries to flee back to her horrible situation. This book reminded me of the Immortals After Dark series but in my opinion, done better.

This was very a fun slow-burn romance with dragons, what else can I ask for! The world-building was really well done and The Dokiri felt so vivid and real. This is my first book by Denali Day and I am so excited to pick up more of her books after this one. I enjoyed Joselyn, she is feisty, stubborn, loyal, and flawed, which made her so much more enjoyable. Hollen is brave, patient, loyal and even though he is her kidnapper, I fell unreasonably fast for him, he's such a softie.

Since many of the Dokiri traditions are primitive, the pacing was felt perfect and allowed me time to understand the characters and their circumstances. It also makes Joselyn's feelings way more believable and lets me really get enjoy her character growth. Let me not start on watching them go from enemies to lovers! I will always have a special place in my heart for books where the love interest wants the heroine to become her badass best self. This book does include assault/rape but it isn't graphic and is seen for what it is, horrible.

Most of the sexual scenes are fade to black which kinda made me sad, but I did enjoy that most of the romance is based on their growing connection and respect for each other. The action and adventures were a lot of fun but I wish there was more of it! Overall though this book was a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the plot.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this arc in exchange for an honest review.

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This was a really good read that had me super conflicted while reading it. I was rooting so hard for Hollen and I wanted him to win over his girl and get the relationship he desired so bad but I was also rooting for Joselyn to escape. She was totally justified in her feelings of hating Hollen. He kidnaps her from her home and mutilates her body all without her permission because of his Gods and his beliefs, which Joselyn has no faith in. I was angry for her but once we get to know Hollen and his feelings and thoughts, you get to see that there is a sweetness there and a greater purpose for why he did the things he did. You get to see that he doesn’t want to hurt Joselyn and he really was trying to win her over. I felt her stubbornness and refusal to see the situations for what they were went on too long for me but this book was still a hell of a ride. I loved the world that Denali Day has created and I will be picking up the next book. Thank you to NetGalley and Podium audio for the audio arc in exchange for an honest review.

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One of my favorite narrators Shane East's voice is swoon worthy. Imaginative well developed world.
Wyvern Riders!!
Stubborn heroine
Steadfast Barbarian Hero
Epic love story
Slooowwburrnnn
Highly anticipating all the brothers books

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Great listen on love and duty, also choosing who you love great adventure and dialogue and the narrator was perfect and loved the bonus chapers.

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