Skip to main content

Close Kin by Clare B. Dunkle

Close Kin is the second book in Clare B. Dunkle's Hollow Kingdom trilogy. It takes place around five years after The Hollow Kingdom and follows Kate's younger sister Emily. Or at least it seems to. Where The Hollow Kingdom stuck pretty closely to Kate's story, Close Kin jumps around a fair bit, splitting its time three different ways as it traces the paths of Emily, her friend and would-be suitor Seylin, and an extremely unhappy elf named Sable. 

When Emily fails to take Seylin's romantic advances seriously, half goblin/half elf Seylin informs the Goblin King he is leaving to search out his other heritage and see if he can find any elves who managed to survive the last goblin harrowing. He does, in fact, come across a rather feral group of elves but, having suffered much in the name of mere survival, they are barely recognizable as the beautiful, carefree creatures Seylin dreamt of. Among this group is a young woman named Sable who, to avoid being forced into an unwanted marriage, sliced her perfect face to ribbons and who now occupies a position lower than slave. Meanwhile, once Emily finds out Seylin has gone for good she immediately sets out on a quest of her own to bring the poor boy back home and attempt to sort out her feelings for him. Most likely in that order. All of this is, naturally, being overseen by the affectionate, if somewhat insufferably know-it-all, Marak. 

This book suffered from a fairly uneven approach to the telling of the story. The narrative jumped from Seylin, to Emily, to Sable sometimes within the space of a few sentences and it was a bit jarring to try to figure out whose perspective I was getting from moment to moment. I was also not as enamored of Emily as I was of her sister Kate in the first book, which made it a bit difficult to really care whether or not she set herself straight and found her way to happiness. Sable, on the other hand, I liked quite a bit and it was both painful and comforting to watch her learn to trust others for probably the first time in her dismal life, and to accept that some helping hands are extended in precisely the spirit of kindness they claim to be. My favorite scenes were any scenes Marak was in and he continues to be my favorite thing about these books. It was good to see that he and Kate were well and happy and as suited to each other as I thought they were. I look forward to the final volume in the Hollow Kingdom trilogy. 

Comments

  1. Anonymous8:32 PM

    I agree with you about the uneven approach. I didn't like Close Kin as much as The Hollow Kingdom either, but it was still enjoyable.

    And guess what I got in the mail today! Heir to Sevenwaters! I am excited, but I want to save it for the weekend when I can really savor/enjoy it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ooh, HEIR TO SEVENWATERS! You've got a good weekend ahead of you, my friend.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

You Might Also Like

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior

It is a pleasure to be a part of the blog tour for Hazel Prior's debut novel Ellie and the Harpmaker. I confess it was the title that drew me in when Berkley approached me about a possible review. It sounded a bit fey, a bit on the ethereal side. The comparisons to the exquisite Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Finedecidedly did not hurt. And so I readily accepted and opened my review copy to the first page. A thought:
Some things are easier to hide than others.

A fact:
Harps come under the "others" category. So do small boys. As you know by now, I am such a sucker for a good epigraph, and this one did the trick nicely. As did the novel's opening lines: A woman came to the barn today. Her hair was the color of walnut wood. Her eyes were the color of bracken in October. Her socks were the color of cherries, which was noticeable because all the rest of her clothes were sad colors. And so we are introduced to one Dan Hollis and the particular way that he sees the world and …

In the Beginning, or the First Ten Books I Reviewed on the Blog

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl
It's been awhile, but this topic was too good to pass up. When I thought about it, I genuinely could not recall which were the first ten books I actually reviewed here on the blog. So then, of course, I had to know. The thing is, I originally started the whole thing simply posting a once a month list of my favorite reads and rereads of the month. That went on for some time until lo and behold I went ahead and wrote and posted my first review on November 9, 2007. In hindsight, I probably should have known exactly which book pushed me over the edge into full fledged reviews. So this was a rather delightful journey back in time. Do you remember the first book you ever reviewed (in any forum) or what made you take the plunge? Here are my first ten (and I have to say, looking at this snapshot from the past, these remain some of my absolute favorite authors and a pretty spot-on array of the genres I read and love tod…

Review | The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

All it took was hearing the basic bones of the premise of Beth O'Leary's debut novel The Flatsharefor me to determine I would absolutely be reading it as soon as I possibly could. I was so delighted to be granted access to an advanced reading copy by Flatiron Books. Even better, it became apparent from the moment I read the first few lines that this reading experience would take place in one headlong rush. No significant breaks allowed, let alone required. The Flatshare was published first in the UK and then slightly later here in the U.S. I dithered over which cover to buy as both have much to recommend them, but I finally decided on the U.S. cover (pictured here). I just love the two of them standing on either side of the same door, the tiny heart between the title and author name.

Tiffy is in a massive, massive bind. Out on her ear after breaking up with her exceptionally controlling boyfriend, she needs an inexpensive place to live and she needs it yesterday. Despite her …