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Every year, the heroes got younger…(and, apparently, the novels got shorter).

Ha Jun, our 16-year-old protagonist, scar-crossed by his father’s brutal training regimen, stoically accepts the bad news he must sprint across the entire expanse of Jeju Island to be in time to accept his quest directly from the Governor before night falls.

Windshine was tired of watching young men die.

Clearly, not enjoying her current occupation, Windshine, one of only two female elves allowed to live on Jeju Island, accompanies heroes on their journey to document their deeds of derring do for posterity, though, most of the time she is, as conveys her pithy introduction, watching them die. 

Driven from their land by endless war, the dark elves landed on the shores of South Hanguk a thousand years before and were warily taken in, with strict conditions. The government enacted restrictions on the dark elves distribution among the native people so these strangers with strong magic would not be able to be fruitful and multiply, alleviating the possibility of a future overthrow of the established order. This dynamic sets up HOLLOW MEN’s  fundamental question of when does common sense immigration policy become inhumane oppression and open itself up to the scourge of unintended consequences?

 For the sake of spoilers, I’ll not delve any further into the plot. Suffice to say Ha Jun and Windshine have a strong rapport as they journey toward their quest with the other 3 questing young men in their group and break the rules of quester / documentarian silence on the road, which leads to a valuable interchange concerning Ha Jun’s glyph sword wherein it is learned that the runes engraved in its metal are more utilitarian than decorative. Once this hidden knowledge is unlocked by the simple act of polite conversation between would-be enemies, the seeds of a successful quest are sown.

The break-neck speed of the build up on the journey toward to the final confrontation and the final confrontation itself (another twist that’s backstoried not exactly seamlessly) is rushed. The shortened attention spans of people raised on cell phones and video games is HOLLOW MEN’s target audience. It stands to reason. For those raised on the lush world building and character development of Heinlein or Tolkein, HOLLOW MEN is not for you, but it's just the kind of quick and action-packed investment the gaming neckbearded spergs, resting their thumbs, may pick up and devour to cleanse their palates between 12-hour jolts of GTA.  

HOLLOW MEN is available for purchase here