Hollowthorn: A Ravenfall Novel is a part of the Ravenfall collection.
In this spellbinding sequel to Ravenfall, two kids with supernatural powers must venture into the Otherworld to protect the Tree of Life from a terrifying foe—or risk losing the magic of Ravenfall forever.
Best friends Anna and Colin defeated the King of the Dead on Halloween night, saving the magical Ravenfall Inn they call home. Now, with Hannukah approaching, the kids are looking forward to exploring their new powers—and maybe enjoying a little challah and peppermint cocoa, too.
But then a Raven—a guardian of the supernatural world—shows up at their doorstep with a warning. A demon from Jewish lore is hunting the Tree of Life, a source of untold power and immortality. If they can’t stop him, they risk losing the magic of Ravenfall forever.
As they venture into the Otherworld, Anna and Colin discover a wondrous, menacing realm full of mythological creatures… but is the true danger closer than they think?
An Excerpt fromHollowthorn: A Ravenfall Novel
Everything has a story.
Some things are just more forthcoming than others. Take the worn silver coin Mr. Andrade brought me to read that morning—it wouldn’t pipe down about jingling around in pockets or how it had spent a week wedged under the Andrades’ kitchen table to even out a leg. I’d been able to tell Mr. Andrade four separate stories about the psychic uncle who’d owned it. Four!
My latest object hasn’t made a peep.
Made of smooth, polished oak with a gold clasp, the chest is about the size of a small shoebox. There’s an engraving of a patterned hand with the center three fingers straight up in a scout’s salute, the thumb and pinky curving outward like petals at the base. In the middle of the palm is a wide, knowing eye that Colin said gave him the creeps. Something about it following him as he moved.
I found it in my dad’s study among his cluttered collection of magical objects and have been trying and failing to read it for nearly half an hour.
“Relax, Anna,” Nora says from beside me. My mother and I are sitting at the kitchen table, a plate of gingerbread cookies and a freshly poured cup of Earl Grey before each of us, courtesy of the house. I’d asked for Irish Breakfast, but there’s no arguing when a four-story ancient inn puts its foot down.
“This sort of magic needs to flow naturally,” Nora continues as she twists her blond curls up into a bun. “If you try to force it, you’ll only stop it up.”
Easy for her to say. She’s been using her psychic powers for decades now; I’ve had my psychometry abilities for less than a year. But I try to do as she says and relax, to let my magic flow naturally to the chest. Nora told me to picture it like a bridge between me and the object, and then to cross that bridge to find information.
But my magic only sloughs off the engraved chest like melted snow.
I relinquish my white-knuckled grip on it and slump into my seat with a groan. “People are so much easier to read. Objects are the worst.”
“People give their stories much more freely,” Nora says reassuringly. “You’ll get the hang of it eventually, like you did everything else.”
I want to believe her, but I feel like I’ve come to a standstill. I made so much progress after Samhain thanks to Nora’s lessons. Before, if I touched someone who’d seen death, I got a vision of it too. Now I can control whether I get a vision when I touch someone, and I’ve begun to see other memories besides just people’s deaths. But it’s nearly mid-December now, and the only objects I’ve been able to read have been things like Mr. Andrade’s coin, which’ll shout at just about anybody with a magical pulse.
“I wanted to show Henry,” I mutter, wrapping my hands around my mug and wishing my disappointment would evaporate with the steam. As a relic hunter, my dad would love to know the chest’s history from its point of view. Soon I’ll be able to tell him new things about everything he’s collected, and maybe then he’ll reconsider taking me on an expedition with him.
“Your father will be home all month.” Nora scoots back her chair and stands. “You have plenty of time to figure it out. Speaking of which, I need to finish packing before Gran gets here.”
“Do you even know what a suitcase looks like?” I tease. I’m thirteen, and I can’t remember a single time Nora went on vacation. Uncle Roy and Aunt Elaine practically had to pry responsibility for the inn out of Nora’s fingers to get her to go to Ireland with Gran for the week. She’s spent the last few days writing little reminders and sticking them all over the house, as if we’d forget to make breakfast for the guests or redo the faerie wards on the garden just because she’s not here.
“Ha, ha,” Nora deadpans. “You know, it’s not too late for me to cancel. Elaine can go and I can—”
“No!” I say it a little too quickly, and heat rushes to my cheeks. It’s not that I don’t want Nora here; it’s just that I’ve been looking forward to spending the week with my dad and hearing all about his latest adventure. If Nora’s here, he’ll just squirrel away in his study while she handles the inn since whenever he tries to help, he usually just ends up creating more work. Like the time he gave a guest directions to the magical hat shop downtown instead of the grocery store.
Besides, Nora deserves a break.
Nora gives me a knowing look, but mercifully lets it go. “I’ll be upstairs. Can you take the challah out of the oven when the timer goes off?”
“Can’t the house do it?”
She leans toward me and lowers her voice conspiratorially. “It’s been dropping things lately. Don’t tell it I told you—it’s been grouchy about it.”
The nearest wall groans, as if the house is leaning closer to hear. “But—” I start.
Nora presses a finger to her lips, glancing at the wall, before slipping out of the kitchen with a wink.
I stare mournfully at the chest.
My dad’s been on one of his magical object expeditions for almost three months now, but he’s finally coming home today, and I’ve been preparing all day in hopes of sharing the box’s history with him as a welcome home present. I’m even wearing the Shalom Gnome sweater he got me right before he left in celebration of his return, the gnome’s eyes hidden in a fluff of white beard and a low-slung beanie decorated in little Stars of David.
The house has felt empty without him, the trip one of the longest periods of time he’s been gone, and I’ve been dying to tell him about everything that happened during Samhain. Colin’s arrival after his parents’ passing; his discovery that he’s a Raven—one of the keepers of the Shield between our world and the Otherworld; our face-off against Fin Varra, the Irish King of the Dead, who was hunting down Ravens to weaken the Shield.
Henry always brings a story home with him from his adventures, but this time, I have one for him—and it’s epic.
I pull Colin’s Ravenguard journal over from the other side of the table and flip it open to the drawing of his Saint Knives that I’ve been working on. Thin black blades with veins of gold, they’re a rare Raven weapon capable of killing powerful magical creatures. Even now, I can feel a bit of their power slipping through the pages, as if I could reach in and grab them just like Colin can.
The knives are the last thing left in his parents’ journal that we need to transfer to this new one, and I’ve been working on the sketch for days, wanting to get them just right. Once we transfer the knives’ magical connection to this new journal, Colin can bond with it and give the old one back to his brother, and then they’ll both have their own Raven journal to summon things from.
I’m just shading in the last of the handles when the scent of char fills the air. Smoke begins to spill into the kitchen and I leap to my feet, trying to find a set of oven mitts. The side door flies open and Uncle Roy barrels in.
“Watch out!” he calls, and I step aside as he wrenches open the oven and drags the tray out bare-handed. He slides the blackened loaf of challah into the island sink, dousing it in water, and fans the smoke away with the tray.
“I sensed the smoke,” he says to my bewildered look. I knew his pyrokinesis lets him summon and control flames, even making him impervious to heat, but I didn’t realize he can sense fire the way my sister Rose does emotions. It makes sense now that I think about it, though. It’s what makes his ability a psychic power, instead of something like Colin’s Ravenguard abilities, which are more physical than mental.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever understand everything magic can do.
“I thought you were hunting with Colin,” I say as Uncle Roy sets the tray onto the counter. His pale cheeks are tinged pink from the chilly weather, and he’s dressed like a lumberjack in maroon flannel and khaki overalls that are almost too small for his bear-sized frame.
“Liam’s in town for the day, so he took over. I’ve been putting up the holiday lights,” he replies, shutting off the faucet. We both peer at the now goopy bread mess in the sink. “What happened?”
I shrug, glancing at the smoke-wreathed oven. “Nora said to take the bread out when it was done, but the timer hasn’t even gone off yet. The house never burns anything. Do you think something’s wrong with it?”
“I’m sure it’s fine,” he says. “It’s probably just upset that Nora is leaving. And it always gets grumpier in the winter.”