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Close Kin by Clare B. Dunkle Review

Title: Close Kin

Author: Clare B. Dunkle

First published October 1, 2004

224 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780805081091 (ISBN10: 0805081097)

Rating: 3.98


In the deep underground goblin kingdom, Emily has spent years living a happy life. However, as Emily reaches the age of marriage, her childhood friend Seylin proposes to her but Emily doesn’t take him seriously.

Hurt and devastated, Seylin leaves the kingdom to find his own people, the elves. Emily finally realizes the depth of her feelings for Seylin, but it’s too late as he’s already gone.

Determined to find him, Emily embarks on a journey to locate Seylin. However, as Emily and Seylin come closer to their goals, they bring two worlds on a collision course, awakening prejudices and hatred that have been dormant for years.

Join Emily and Seylin in their quest for love and acceptance in this magical world.

About the Author

Hi there! My name is Clare Buckalew, and I was born in Fort Worth, Texas. I grew up in Denton, which is a city located north of Dallas.

I went to Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where I earned my B.A. in Russian with a minor in Latin. After that, I went to Indiana University and got a master’s degree in library science.

I moved back to San Antonio to work when my husband, Joe, joined the engineering staff at Kelly Air Force Base. I worked as the monographs cataloger at Trinity University’s Coates Library for nine years and earned tenure.

However, I left my job to homeschool my two daughters, Valerie and Elena. In 2000, my family and I moved to Germany and lived there for seven years.

We resided in the Rheinland Pfalz region, which is near the old Roman city of Trier. When my younger daughter Elena began college in 2007, we moved back to San Antonio.

Fast forward to 2012, and Joe and I became grandparents! We decided to move back to Germany and are currently enjoying the bike trails, wine fests, and amazing travel opportunities. We plan to continue living here until at least 2017.

Editoral Review

Close Kin, the second book in the Hollow Kingdom trilogy by Clare B. Dunkle, is a masterfully crafted young adult fantasy novel that will enthrall readers of all ages.

Dunkle, an American author who is also the author of the award-winning novel The House of Dead Maids, weaves a tale that is both suspenseful and engaging, with a perfect balance of action and emotion. The novel is set in the magical world of Hollow Kingdom, where Tania and her sister, Sofia, have been exiled from the human world to live with their Aunt Morag.

Tania, who has inherited the gift of foretelling the future, soon finds herself in the midst of a conspiracy to overthrow the current ruler of the Hollow Kingdom. The plot thickens when she discovers that her own mother, who was thought to be dead, is alive and well, and may be involved in the conspiracy.

The character development in this novel is exceptional. Tania is a strong-willed, intelligent, and determined protagonist, who has to navigate the complexities of the Hollow Kingdom and uncover the truth about her mother.

Dunkle creates a cast of supporting characters that are equally as diverse and interesting, each playing a pivotal role in the story. The themes of family, trust, and loyalty are expertly woven into the story, making it a thought-provoking read.

The pacing of Close Kin is perfect, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged without feeling overwhelmed. Dunkle’s writing style is descriptive and engaging, making the magical world of Hollow Kingdom feel like a real place.

The novel is a perfect example of how young adult fiction can be both entertaining and thought-provoking. One of the strengths of Close Kin is the historical and cultural significance that the novel holds.

Dunkle expertly weaves elements of Scottish folklore and mythology into the story, making it a perfect read for anyone interested in these topics. The themes of betrayal and usurpation that are present in the novel are also relevant to current events, making it a timely read.

There are few flaws in this novel, but one potential limitation is that it may be confusing for readers who have not read the first book in the trilogy. However, Dunkle does an excellent job of providing backstory and context, so even new readers will be able to understand and enjoy the novel.

Overall, I would highly recommend Close Kin to anyone who enjoys young adult fiction, fantasy, or Scottish history and mythology. The novel is expertly crafted, with strong characters, engaging plot twists, and thought-provoking themes.

It is a must-read for anyone who wants to be transported to a magical world that feels both real and fantastical. Rating: 4.5/5