I read this in April 2010, but today (after skimming through the book a bit) I have decided to review it nearly a year after reading.
Title: The Hollow Kingdom (The Hollow Kingdom, #1)
Author: Clare B. Dunkle
Release Date: January 1, 2003
Publisher: Henry Holt
Cover Designer: Laurent Linn
Age Audience: YA
Summary: For thousands of years, young women have been vanishing from Hallow Hill, never to be seen again. Now Kate and Emily have moved there with no idea of the land's dreadful heritage—until Marak decides to tell them himself. Marak is a powerful magician who claims to be the goblin king, and he has very specific plans for the two new girls who have trespassed into his kingdom...
I had huge expectations for this book. It sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Sadly, I was disappointed.
First of all, the writing was very good. It made you think that this book was written in the 19th century rather than 2003. The characters were all very well-drawn, I especially liked Snake Charm and his dry sense of humor. This book really could have been amazing.
So here’s what disappointed me the most: I expected this book to be about how Emily and Kate have a grand adventure while searching for a way to get Kate out of marrying Marak or something like that. But Kate just gives in. I was like, “What?” when she agreed to marry Marak.
Also, if Marak really loved Kate like he said he did, I think he would have given her a choice instead of having a “romance” based on Stockholm Syndrome. Their relationship was generally disturbing, and Marak’s excuses for kidnap and rape were just pathetic.
The world that Dunkle created was interesting, but overall dry and a little dull. And the pace of this book was uneven and irregular. Dunkle spent so much time building up the story that by the time action comes in, it feels rushed and unsatisfying.
If you want good YA fantasy, read Poison Study, Eragon or Graceling, all of which were better than the waste of time known as The Hollow Kingdom.