The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle

OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK.  After I read the last page, I literally held The Hollow Kingdom in the air, shook it, and rasped, “I love you so much!”  It’s been a while since a story was so exactly catered to my interests, and I’m still reeling from its perfection.

I mean, first of all, the goblin kingdom is one of the coolest worlds I’ve read about.  It is lovingly detailed, full of vaguely argumentative doors, polite monsters, and pets with pets.  I loved seeing goblins through Kate’s practical English eyes; at first she can only see the horror.  But when she returns to the human world, she realizes just how attached she has become.  Hers was a slow fade into appreciation and love, which felt very real.  I, however, was more like younger sister Emily, quick to awe and adoration. 

Can we talk about Kate and Marak?  OF COURSE WE CAN, this is my blog.  Kate and Marak–what a fantastic power couple with just exactly the kind of romance I like to see.  They are a equal match in wit, stubbornness, and resourcefulness.  The Goblin King unapologetically tries to kidnap her on multiple occasions, and she consistently escapes.  This is….so appealing to me?  Trust me that the undercurrent of respect and delight (on Marak’s part) and a growing sense of interest and love (on Kate’s part) makes their relationship so completely delicious.  Where some stories would make their relationship cheesy or melodramatic, Dunkle never forgets that Marak is a goblin.  He is a monster, and Kate loves him anyway.  THIS IS MY FAVORITE.

Plus, Kate is amazing.  She is fearlessly loyal to those she loves, and she is quick to outwit those who would seek to do harm–either to herself or someone else.  She is kind and compassionate, but willing to do the hard things when necessary.  It’s no wonder Marak immediately fell in love with her.  And Marak!  His constant teasing and wicked grins balanced with absolute care and devotion, both to Kate and to his kingdom–um, wow.  Again, it’s no wonder Kate loves him.

Every single side character is fantastic, from Emily (M, hah!), Seylin the talking cat, the King’s Wife Charm, Agatha, Hulk and Bulk, and ah!  Everyone!  Goblins, humans, elves, dwarves–every mythical creature finds its way into this story, and the combined result is truly magical.  I’ve become a diehard fan of The Hollow Kingdom, and I might need to immediately read it five more times.

Edited to add:  I JUST FOUND OUT THIS IS A TRILOGY, and all the books are already published!  THIS IS THE BEST NEWS.

200px-ClareBDunkle_TheHollowKingdomBook Jacket

Hallow Hill has a strange and tragic history.  For thousands of years, young women have been vanishing from the estate, never to be seen again.  Now Kate and Emily have come to live at Hallow Hill.  Brought up in a civilized age, they have no idea of the land’s dreadful heritage.  Until, that is, Marak decides to tell them himself.

Intelligent, pleasant, and completely pitiless, Marak is a powerful magician who claims to be a King–and he has very specific plans for the two new girls who have trespassed into his kingdom.

Release Date:  October 2003

Want another opinion?  Check out reviews by The Readventurer and Young Adult Anonymous.


3 thoughts on “The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle

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