The Thunder Child

Science Fiction and Fantasy
Web Magazine and Sourcebooks

Vol 1, Issue #6
"Stand By For Mars!"
June 2006

Children's Fiction Book Reviews
by Kathy Thomason

Close Kin
by Clare B. Dunkle
Henry Holt

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In the second book of "The Hollow Kingdom" trilogy, Emily and her sister Kate, who became the Goblin King's wife, have settled into their new lives, although Emily is still struggling to find her niche. She has become good friends with Seylin, a member of the King's Guard, who had an elvish look about him. Emily considers him her best friend and doesn't realize that he has other plans for their future than just friendship. Emily had high spirits and a love of excitement, which not only appealed to Seylin, but to all the Goblin children, who were always surrounding her.

Normally Seylin, who is embarrassingly handsome for a goblin, has always appreciated that Emily and the children don't make fun of him. But he has finally worked up his courage and when he gets to Emily's room, he is dismayed to find that she has a couple of children with her and when he complains, she is so wrapped up in the children that she doesn't realize that he is trying to propose. He gets angry and accuses her of listening to Thaydar, another member of the guard and she gets angry and after several harsh words were exchanged, he yells at her to marry Thaydar and she informs him that she certainly wouldn't marry him and she just might marry Thaydar. Seylin can't believe she said that and in her anger she assures him that she meant every word. Consumed with anger and pain, he goes to the Goblin King and asks permission to go on a quest to see if there are any elves left alive so that he may find a bride and after getting permission, he heads out on his quest.

Emily is stunned to find him gone and can't believe he took her seriously. So she goes to the Goblin King and asks permission to go up top and look for him. The Goblin King grants her permission but says that she must take a guard with her and assigns her least favorite teacher, Ruby, to go with her. Emily grumbles, but realizes that her only chance of going is to take Ruby with her so they head out. After wandering for a while, Ruby informs her that they aren't going to find Seylin with the search pattern Emily is using and Emily says that she doesn't know what Ruby is talking about, she is just looking the earth over before she goes back underground and settles down. Ruby informs her that she knows they are looking for Seylin and suggests a better way to look.

Seylin, in the meantime, has found what is probably the last tribe of Elves left and is greatly disappointed with what he finds. Instead of being the beautiful, noble beings that he had always heard about, these elves are mean, dirty and barely scrapping by, living in filth and squalor. There are two Elven women living there, both being treated very badly. They don't take kindly to Seylin coming in and telling them how they should be living and things begin to get nasty as hatreds and prejudices that have lain dormant for years begin to come to the surface. And just as things are starting to get bad and Seylin is trying to decide how to rescue the women and leave, the goblins show up to help. Unknown to Seylin, the king had put a tracking spell on him so that they could keep up with him, just in case he did find the Elves.

In this evocative sequel to a wonderful debut novel, The Hollow Kingdom, Dunkle once again draws us into a magical world filled with excitement, intrigue, terror, beauty and love. She will grab your attention from page one and hold on until the last breathtaking page. Not only will the young people in your life enjoy this book, but adults as well will enjoy both books in this wonderful series.

Clare B. Dunkle is a native of North Texas, and she worked for years as a librarian. She wrote this book in a series of letters to her two teenage daughters, who attend a German boarding school. She lives in Germany with her husband, the obligatory pair of cats and what she calls her dog of Very Little Brain.

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