Heather's Reviews > Close Kin

Close Kin by Clare B. Dunkle
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's review
Jul 16, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, novels, fantasy, england
Read from January 09 to 15, 2011

I think I actually liked this one more than the first one, but not enough to give it five stars. I felt like it fleshed out the human world better and was interested to learn more about the history of the elves.

While I've been enjoying these books on a surface level, I've been pondering what they might be really "about." In this book, there was more choice involved in the romantic relationships than in the goblin kidnapping of the first book. I know a lot of people aren't going to like any book in which a woman is married young, but I think that this book was less about women getting married itself and more about what kind of man to marry if you are going to. And what kind not to marry, for that matter. Though the goblins don't really offer women a choice about getting married, that makes sense in the context of their society (and in the human society of the time period), so at least having the choice of whom to marry is an important point--a choice that a lot of people in our modern times probably don't think nearly enough about. I am wondering if the whole "going down into the goblin kingdom to be married" thing might be a sort of metaphor for the terror our society currently has of marriage in general.

The whole demeanor of Marak (and now his son) was still bizarre, though. I get that they have to ensure the survival of their society, but they are pretty damn creepy about it. Marak is simultaneously caring, cruel, gentle, and ruthless. He gets what he wants, and no one can stand against him. He even makes light of his wife's (apparently) unconscious desire to kill him with her elf magic. He still comes off as an emotionally abusive psychopath. Either the author is using him to make deadpan jokes that I just don't get, or I'm not really supposed to like him as a reader--I'm not sure.

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