“Clare Dunkle brings a fresh new voice and a fresh new vision to the high art of fantasy. She creates a world filled with intense excitement, terror, beauty, and lovea world as persuasive as it is remarkable.” Lloyd Alexander
“* A luminously polished fantasy that starts off strong and just gets better. A masterly debut.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The impact of Dunkle's evocative storytelling lingers long after the final page.” Booklist
PW called Clare B. Dunkle's The Hollow Kingdom a "luminously polished fantasy that starts off strong and just gets better [with] elements of Victorian novels and fairy tales." As the trilogy concludes with In the Coils of the Snake, readers find Miranda at the center of an age-old battle at the end of Marak's reign, when she is taken prisoner by an elf lord. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Once Marak, the Goblin King, dies, seventeen-year-old Miranda expects to assume the role of Queen when she marries Marak's son, a role she has been trained to fulfill from birth. With the arrival of a mysterious Elf King, however, Miranda's seeming destiny is thwarted. In an effort to keep the peace between the goblins and the elves, the elves hand over young Arianna, an elf-bride intended to replace Miranda and secure the safety of the elves. When Miranda hears of this, she flees the goblin caves and plans to take her life by drowning in a nearby pond. She is stopped, however, by the Elf King himself who places a captivity spell upon her and thus forces her to remain in the forest with him and his small band of people. In time, Miranda learns to love the dark forest and the elf king and refuses to return to the goblin community even when the Goblin King attempts to rescue her. In the end, Miranda learns that her true destiny has brought her to the elves and that she will ultimately be responsible for keeping those she loveself and goblinalive. Although the novel is Book Three in "The Hollow Kingdom" trilogy, it does not require readers to have read the first two. A prologue is included that sets the stage for the events that follow. Although Miranda's character is overly-naive and juvenile at times (especially in matters of the heart), her disparate emotions are captured well and reflect the turmoil of a young woman being pulled in two different directions. The magical descriptions are just that; readers are drawn into two unique worlds through vivid details that paint a clear picture without bogging down the action that drives the story. 2005, Henry Holt, Ages 12 to 16.
Wendy Glenn, Ph.D.
Gr 6-10-In the final volume in the trilogy, the action moves to the next generation. Marak, the goblin king, is dying, and his son, Marak Catspaw, is taking over the throne. Miranda, the human girl whom Marak has raised to be Catspaw's wife, has come to the underground goblin lands eager to start her role as King's Wife. When a new elf leader arrives and offers Catspaw an elven wife, Miranda's destiny disappears. She escapes the goblin kingdom and is captured by the elf leader, Nir. Meanwhile, elven Arianna, Catspaw's new Wife, is deeply unhappy with her underground life. In the end, both girls play a role in choosing a new life for both elves and goblins. Dunkle has created a tightly drawn fantasy with a pair of strong, independent female protagonists striving to find their places in new societies. The author's themes of the need for tolerance and her exploration of the often-superficial differences between races are continued from earlier volumes and add meaning to the text. Because of this book's focus on the elf and goblin worlds, less attention is given to the alternate Victorian England of the humans than in earlier volumes. Dunkle's language and plotting help build the mood and move her suspenseful story through its twists to its satisfying finish.-Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The Hollow Kingdom trilogy ends as it began: with a kidnapped bride falling for her captor. Human Miranda has been raised as the promised bride to the goblin heir, Catspaw. After the death of Marak, the goblin king and the target of all Miranda's affection, she's ambivalent about her impending marriage. Miranda looks forward to wealth and Catspaw's affection, but misses Marak and is lonely in the goblin kingdom. On the eve of their wedding, Catspaw is forced by circumstance to wed a frightened elf maiden instead of Miranda. After storming off in a sulk, Miranda is kidnapped by the irresistibly handsome lord of the elves. Inevitably, she comes to love her captor, and the elves and goblins, enemies since time immemorial, discover common ground. After all, both races kidnap terrified young women into forced marriage, so how different can they really be? A trilogy, which opened with some promise, sadly resolves without ever growing beyond a disappointing collection of feeble, uninteresting heroines. Not a substantial contribution to the strong genre of romantic fantasy. (Fantasy. 12-15)