Monday, July 9, 2012

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle has long been a favorite of mine, so I turned to it when I was in the mood for a reread.

When strong-willed Kate and her little sister Emily return to their ancestral home after their father's death, they are greeted by two fluttery aunts and a surly cousin who feels that he, not the girls, has a right to the property. Their cousin's antagonism is soon the least of their worries, though. One evening the sisters get lost on the paths and back roads around the estate, and they meet a strange little company. When one of them, Mr. Marak, offers them an escort home, Em is glad to accept -- but Kate is more cautious. Something in her warns her to keep her distance from this odd but charming stranger. Through a series of fantastical events, Marak reveals to Kate that he is the Goblin King, and she is his chosen bride. Kate is determined never to go with the goblins. She dreads the thought of living in their dank underground halls, never being able to feel the wind or see the stars. When Emily is in danger, however, Kate makes a bargain with the Goblin King. Will she regret it -- or will she find that life with the goblins is not at all what she expected?

This story has its faults, it's true (I should probably detest the goblin method of finding brides), but I love it all the same. Marak is a great character with a wicked sense of humor, and Charm (who has no sense of humor at all) is also a favorite of mine. Some readers complain of pacing problems in the book, but the flow of the story has never bothered me. I definitely recommend this to fantasy fans.

(Reviewed from my personally purchased copy.)

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