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Review: Close Kin (The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy, Book Two) by Clare B Dunkle

(this is the second book in the hollow kingdom trilogy, so spoilers for the first book - the hollow kingdom - are unavoidable really...)

in a sentence or so: Seylin finally bucks up the courage to awkwardly propose to Emily, only to be inadvertently turned down which triggers the heartbroken Seylin to head out and find his elvish ancestors. when Emily realizes what's happened, she too sets on a quest to find Seylin, and set things right...whatever that may be.

Emily and Seylin's tale begins in the hollow kingdom about five years after the conclusion of the previous book.  Emily continues to spend time with the goblin children, while nearing the end of her education and nearing the inevitable marriage age.  her long time friend Seylin has been acting weird lately, and it doesn't even dawn on her that his awkward behavior and even more awkward conversation about marriage are because of and for her.  heartbroken at his rejection, Seylin requests permission to leave the kingdom and find out if there really are elves out in the world, and hopes he will find acceptance with them where he didn't find it with his true love.

the writing alternates between Seylin's search for the elves, Emily's search of Seylin, and life back in the goblin kingdom.  the whole book takes place over a few days, which is exciting and holds the reader's interest.  the author also sprinkles in some additional folklore of the elves intermittently, which helps the reader explore the past while discovering the future.

i knew to expect good things from "close kin", as i really liked the "hollow kingdom".  what i didn't expect, however, were the issues of domestic abuse, prejudice, use of gifts and talents, healthy and unhealthy relationships, change, disappointment, and growing up.  the outer shell of the story is Seylin and Emily's love story...but we discover so much more about goblins, elves, and human nature in the process.

i adore the folklore created by Dunkle, the creativity in plot and the rooted characters.  i will certainly be finishing off the trilogy by reading "in the coils of the snake" sometime in the not too distant future.

fave quote: "Emily stood up from behind a rock.  She was pale and grubby, and she had circles under her eyes.  Seylin had never seen a sight more beautiful." (141)

fix er up: maybe it's because i was already familiar with the folklore and mythology, but "close kin" just didn't hold the same excitement as "hollow kingdom".

title: Close Kin (Book II -- The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy)
author: Clare B. Dunkle
genre: Fantasy

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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