Close Kin: Book II -- The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy - Clare B. Dunkle

It is hard to find the well-done sequel of a very good book, but this one is close enough to its precedent. I enjoyed it a lot reading it.


We have the same characters than in the first book, plus some new characters. I thought I would not like them that much, but I am happy to say I was wrong. Emily and Seylin are my 2nd best couple after all.


The story begins with the introduction of a beautiful new elf, Sable, who makes herself ugly on purpose to avoid marriage. I thought, "oh no, is this the future wife of Seylin?". Specially after seeing Emily rejecting his offer of marriage. But I did not count on Marak's intelligence. Such a smart and benevolent Goblin King! He will remain as my favorite character, no matter who appears in the next and last book.


Basically the story divides between Emily's quest and Seylin's quest. Seylin leaves the kingdom after the rejection, to find his elvish family and settle down with an elf girl. Emily leaves the kingdom once she realizes she cannot live without Seylin. Seylin meets a little girl, who has no much participation, but who is helpful to Emily eventually. Then he meets a group of elves, who are like savages. Imagine that! In this book Goblins are the nicest and most patients and sweetest, although ugliest, creatures, and the elves are beyond beautiful, although ignorant, hateful and chauvinists.


Emily, on the other hand, travels with goblin Ruby, who is an ugly teacher goblin and one of her enemies. Eventually she turns out another great and maternal goblin, when they meet Richard and the twins.


I love the new elf-goblin couples, and how goblin win their brides' hearts with their kindness. The book really shows us that beauty is inside the person, not outside. I would not mind marrying a goblin and moving into their lovely kingdom! They are that appealing with their personalities.


And to have that amazing Marak as a King... I love that we could glimpse a little bit of Kate's life as a mother and as a wife. How could she not be happy with magic lessons, and sweet Catspaw, and the peaceful kingdom she lives in?


But that final scene.. That Til is going to be trouble... I wondered in the first book what was the point to bring her in the story... And that Kate practically dotes more on her than on little Catspaw! Who is this Til anyway?? She does not belong to the kingdom... Grrr. Go, Catspaw, go! You are your incredible father's son, after all.


Only Charm was missing in this book, but looks like it is going to be a major part in the next book.