Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004
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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


*****The Hollow Kingdom

by Clare B. Dunkle

Reviewed March 8, 2004.
Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2003.  230 pages.
Winner of the 2004 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature
Available at Sembach Library (JF DUN)
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004,#5, Fantasy for Young Adults

I bumped this book to the front of my list of books to read when Iheard that the author would be speaking at Ramstein MiddleSchool.  If she also comes to Sembach, I wanted to have read herbook.  (She’s another American living in Germany.)

At the beginning of the first chapter of this book, I didn’t think Iwas going to like it.  The point of view jumps around a little bitso it wasn’t completely clear who the main character would be. Lots of background information came at me quickly.

After only another chapter or so, though, I was completely andirrevocably hooked by the story.  The author powerfully builds upa strong feeling of impending doom, and it’s not the sort of bookthat’seasy to put down.

Kate and her little sister Emily have come to Hallow Hall, which theyhave inherited from their mother but never visited before.  Thereare sinister tales about the area.  The common people never allowyoung girls to go outside at night, but Kate and Emily’s guardian hasnosuch qualms.

When Kate learns that the Goblin King wants her for his bride, Iexpected something along the lines of ThePerilous Gard or the old legend of Tam Lin.  However, Katehas no young handsome man to save her and must rely completely onherself.

I’d like to say much more about the great writing that went into thismagnificent book.  Part of the greatness is in the way she keepsthe plot unexpected, yet absolutely right.  So I don’t dare sayanything about it, for fear of giving some of it away.  The storyis alarming at many points, but always nice and clean, and it has agood,classic theme told in an entirely compelling way.  I hope many ofyou read it so I can then talk with you about the many excellentdetails!

Reviews of other books by Clare B. Dunkle:
Close Kin (Book 2)
In the Coils of the Snake (Book 3)
By These Ten Bones
The Sky Inside
The House of Dead Maids
Hope and Other Luxuries
Elena Vanishing

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  Allrights reserved.

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