Thursday, December 27, 2007

Last year for Christmas Claire gave me The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle, which she thought I'd love but, like so many books I buy or get as gifts, it still sat unread in the bookcase. When she asked me about it I had to confess, but I promised it would be my next book. Once I started, I only stopped a third of the way through to email her to tell her she was completely right and I totally loved it. When she emailed me back that they only got better, I was glad I'd checked out the other two books in the trilogy, Close Kin and In The Coils Of The Snake, before I started the first. And she was right again - they did only get better. In the first book the goblin king chooses a human bride, Kate, who successfully resists him until she is forced to submit in order to save her younger sister Emily. The second book follows Emily, a happy resident of the goblins' subterranean kingdom, as she goes out in the world in search of her friend who is, in turn, searching for any remaining elves. In the third Kate's son, now the new goblin king, has to face the growing tension between the goblins and the newly banded together elves. I really enjoyed these books and loved how the goblins, elves, and humans were all drawn with complexity and affection. Each could be brutal, but also intelligent, humane, and loyal in their way. While nothing quite played out in an expected manner, there also weren't any twists that didn't make sense or feel right. And even when I predicted certain plot elements, their resolution would pleasantly surprise me. These were definitely three of the best YA books I read this year.

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