When the newly-orphaned Kate and Emily arrive at the Hallow Hill estate, they have no idea of the dark secrets it holds. Young women have been vanishing from the Hill for thousands of years, never to be seen again. They quickly discover the truth of the legends, however, when they are lost in the woods and stumble upon a group of goblins.
Marak, the King of the goblins, is clever, sarcastic, and ugly. He wastes no time in setting his sights on Kate - for the goblin King needs a non-goblin bride. Kate is determined to escape the monster who is determined to capture her... but sometimes it's hard to tell who the real monsters are...
Well, I enjoyed this book. Adored it. Absolutely fell in love. I can't pinpoint what exactly I loved so much about The Hollow Kingdom, but I know it's going in a place of pride on my shelf of favorite books.
The plot would've had five stars, except for a time jump that was disappointing (I felt like I missed a significant chunk of relationship development between Marak and Kate.) Also, the first and second half of the book were a little disjointed. That said, it was an entertaining, exciting plot that I enjoyed reading. It was also quite unique.
I liked Marak very much, and I liked Kate too. Kate was an interesting mix: feisty, and yet still able to scream and faint with the best of the well-bred ladies. It's nice to have a heroine that's not impervious to everything, and yet also doesn't melt into a puddle of gushing goo the moment she meets her Soul Mate. Marak was sarcastic and rude and yet somehow totally charming; one of the best love interests I've read in a while, not overly pefect (come on, he's downright ugly) and yet he still makes you fall in love. I took off a few points since I didn't find the final villain at all interesting or threatening, but the rest of the characters were wonderful.
The description is really masterful - I could picture every scene, every setting, every character, and yet somehow the description doesn't bog down the story at all. The dialogue is entertaining yet doesn't sound fake, and as mentioned above I was very impressed with the characters. Overall, Dunkle has done a truly amazing job with this book, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.
End Result: five stars. A really excellent book. Read it.