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A Cruel and Fated Light

Book #2 of Hollow Star Saga



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About The Book

Half-fae Arlo becomes entangled in the courtly intrigue at the Seelie Summer palace as danger for ironborns mounts in this “beautifully written and deliciously complex” (Nicki Pau Preto, author of the Crown of Feathers trilogy) sequel to A Dark and Hollow Star that’s The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones.

After thwarting the man behind the gruesome ironborn murders—and breaking several fae laws to do so—all Arlo wants is a quiet summer. As the deity of luck’s Hollow Star, capable of bringing about endless possibilities, this shouldn’t be too much to ask, right?

But someone is still trying to summon the mythical Seven Deadly Sins. All signs point to immortal meddling, and if this is the gods’ attempt at returning to the Mortal Realm, it’s Arlo they’re going to use to do it.

When Queen Riadne offers to host Arlo at the Seelie Summer palace, she jumps at the chance. She’ll get to see more of Vehan and Aurelian and perhaps even work out her complicated feelings for the gorgeous ex-Fury, Nausicaä. But no one trusts the infamous Queen of Light, even as Arlo wonders if she’s just been greatly misunderstood.

With the Summer Solstice quickly approaching, everyone expects Riadne to finally challenge the High King for his crown. And as Arlo struggles to get control of her powers and take charge of her destiny, she’ll soon be faced with a choice that won’t only change the fate of the Mortal Realm forever but could condemn it to a cruelty the likes of which the Courts have never known.

About The Author

Photo by Ashley Shuttleworth

Ashley Shuttleworth is a young adult fantasy author with a degree in English literature and a slight obsession with The Legend of ZeldaKingdom Hearts, and Final Fantasy. They currently live in Ontario, Canada, with their cat named Zack and a growing collection of cosplay swords. You can find them online at

Why We Love It

“Your favorite queer chaos kids are back in this heart-pounding follow-up to A Dark and Hollow Star. The fae world is on the verge of collapse, and Arlo, Nausicaä, Vehan, and Aurelian may have found themselves smack in the middle of a brewing war between the mortal and immortal realms. A Cruel and Fated Light cracks the magical world wide open, with new villains emerging and old alliances shifting. There’s angst, there’s romance, there’s pain, and of course, there are quips. This sequel will have you crying and laughing out loud in equal measure. Better buckle up.”

—Sarah M., Editor, on A Cruel and Fated Light

Product Details

  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (May 23, 2023)
  • Length: 656 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534453715
  • Grades: 9 and up
  • Ages: 14 - 99
  • Lexile ® 1060L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

“A dazzling sequel with enough tantalizing court intrigue, reveals, and secrets to keep you on the edge of your seat. Shuttleworth expertly expands the beautiful and cruel world of the fae with rich world-building and intricate character work in this must-read follow up to A Dark and Hollow Star.”

– Liselle Sambury, author of BLOOD LIKE MAGIC and BLOOD LIKE FATE

"Beautifully written and deliciously complex, A Dark and Hollow Star is utterly engrossing. The magic is bloody, the humor sharp, and the murder mystery drenched in violence and intrigue. Like a fallen Fury set on vengeance, I couldn’t get enough."

– Nicki Pau Preto, author of the Crown of Feathers series

“A gripping flight into fantasy... The plot offers high stakes, simmering romantic tension, political drama, refreshingly casual representation of queer and transgender characters, and an intriguing magic system that draws inspiration from Dungeons & Dragons.”


“First in a planned duology, Shuttleworth’s queer urban fantasy debut combines figures from Greek myth and European folklore with elements of tabletop RPGs.... Shuttleworth sensitively tackles the plot’s darker elements, including trauma and suicidal ideation, tempering them with tenderness and wry wit. A kaleidoscopic narrative adds depth and drive.”

– Publishers Weekly on A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR

"Characters are vivid, with motivating, sometimes mysterious, backstories. The high stakes of the plot are balanced with humor, particularly from the irreverent and snarky Nausicaä.... Many young adults will love this novel’s stellar queer representation, as well as the oft-repeated refrain that the adults should be the ones handling this mess. VERDICT: A promising opener to an urban faerie fantasy series featuring multiple queer identities."

– School Library Journal on A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR

"Tongue-in-cheek pop-culture references and snarky humor balance well with dark but sensitive portrayals of emotional trauma caused by abusive or negligent adults.... This first in a planned duology should be a hit."

– Booklist Online Exclusive on A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR

Exiled immortals and treacherous fae vie for power and dominance over the mortal world in this second installment of the Hollow Star Saga.

Arlo Jarsdel, an ironborn on the cusp of Maturity, cast aside her fate, claiming the mantle of the Hollow Star to save herself and her friends from the machinations of Hieronymus Aurum, a practitioner of dark magic. Now, with the secret power to manipulate events through a magical 20-sided die, Arlo approaches a crossroads of possibilities. With an invitation from Riadne Lysterne—Seelie Queen of Summer, longtime enemy of Arlo’s family, and mother of her new friend, Prince Vehan—Arlo finds herself thrust into high-stakes political intrigue and has an unprecedented opportunity to learn alchemy. Meanwhile, mysterious evidence suggests that the work of Hieronymus Aurum was only a small part of a much larger plot. Tension and suspense escalate as the chapters alternate between flashbacks and the perspectives of a cast of predominately White, queer characters with conventionally attractive muscular or thin bodies. A trail of clues tightly intertwines the world’s history with the present conflict between the fae courts, ironborn alchemists, and immortals. The exploration of trauma and recovery is as significant as the overarching fantasy plot. Casual, affirming representation of queerness—as well as of the process of questioning sexuality—adds to the high appeal of the fraught, romantic drama. The villain is deliciously ruthless in her charisma and cruelty.

A ferocious fantasy. (content warnings) (Fantasy. 14-18)

– Kirkus Reviews, 5/1/22

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More books in this series: Hollow Star Saga