Emily's Reviews > The Hollow Kingdom

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle
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's review
May 22, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed-books

Someone had recommended The Hollow Kingdom to me awhile ago, and I wish I could remember who it was because I would totally thank them for cluing me in to an excellent trilogy.

The Hollow Kingdom begins in Victorian England, with Kate and Emily, two recently orphaned sisters, showing up on the doorstep of a cousin who has (reluctantly) agreed to be their guardian. They're supposed to live with two nice but terminally disconnected great-aunts and basically wait around until someone decides to marry them. While they're out exploring the woods and the nature around the house, they discover many beautiful places, all of which are described richly and elegantly in the narrative. They also discover a mysterious band of riders and a bunch of legends about goblins and about the perilous fate that awaits the virginal girls the goblins carry off to their dark, dank and dreary homeland.

That's all well and good, except the legends are anything but, and the truth is actually way more wacky than the story. The goblins are very real indeed, and led by their king, Marak, who must marry someone who's not a goblin and have a sun, so that the magic of the goblin race can continue. Marak doesn't much care how he comes by his bride, and indeed tradition has always dictated that he just cart her off, but some seriously well done plot twists ensure that Kate actually not only goes to the goblin kingdom willingly, but totally reforms everyone's opinions of what she's like once she gets there.

While Kate is more quiet and serious, Emily is bombastic and energetic- the whole situation is just a grand adventure to her, and she helps Kate to see other sides of what appear at the beginning to be pretty hopeless situations. According to Amazon, Emily is the heroine of the second book of this trilogy, called Close Kin, so hopefully we'll see more of her there.

The Hollow Kingdom reminded me very much of a sort of Bizarro-World love story. Kate and Marak are an extremely unlikely couple and at first, it doesn't seem like things are going to work out all that well, but as time passes, it becomes clear that something like love is starting to blossom. Certainly not a traditional romance, but still sweet. Things definitely blossom between Kate and Marek and, of course, there's a barrier to the happily ever after that helps everyone realize what their true feelings are.

The Hollow Kingdom reminded me of fairy tales mixed with Harry Potter and a slight dash of creepy gothic and horror novels. It was a great combination and I'm definitely excited to read the rest of the trilogy.

Overall Grade: A

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