Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!
Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father.
With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.
Emilie and the Hollow World starts straight into the action, with Emilie trying to sneak aboard a ship, being accused of pirating, and saving a man's life in a fight. And after that dramatic, action-packed start, the book doesn't really slow down. The ship Emilie ends up sneaking on takes off for a journey to the center of the world -- or, more specifically, to the world that exists at the center of our world.
Emilie is smart, curious and adventurous. She asks the question you as a reader want answered and noses her way into situations where she really has no business. She's really fun to follow along, and she's just one of an interesting cast of characters, including many non-human inhabitants of the Hollow World. You end up caring quite a bit about the characters and rooting for them, which is always a mark of a good book.
Speaking of the Hollow World -- so cool. The descriptions of the people/creatures Emilie meets there are wonderful and creepy and spot on. The book gives us a vague understanding of how it exists, but it's also a book where magic is very real, so it's not too specific or realistic -- just enough to satisfy your desire for details and to give a sense of mystery and magic to the whole story.
I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway, so it maybe wasn't one I'd normally pick up. But I ended up liking it a whole lot, so I'm glad I won it! It was a little bit younger than I would typically read, which sometimes ruins the enjoyment of a story, but I thought this one was charming and fun.
Have any of you read this one before, or heard of Martha Wells? I never had, but she seems to have quite the following!