Review of The Hollow Kingdom

Thursday, March 12, 2009
Writers are often reminded of how powerful the first paragraph of a novel can be. The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle has a great one: "She had never screamed before, not when she overturned the rowboat and almost drowned, not when the ivy broke and she crashed into the shrubbery below, not even when Lightfoot bucked her off and she felt her leg break underneath her with an agonizing crunch. She hadn't even known that she could . . . But now she screamed, long and loud, with all her breath."

Wowzers! Isn't that awesome? I bought the whole trilogy after reading that one line. I love how much we've already been shown about the character and the setting. For instance, horses, ivy, and a rowboat. Probably nothing modern--somewhere in the country. As for the character, she's probably adventurous and somewhat of a tough tomboy.

At the same time we're learning all this information, the tension drags the reader, kicking and screaming, into the book. See how it was all shown instead of told and woven together instead of delivered in enormous chunks?

This book is also an instance when a prologue works. It sets up a tension that the reader feels, but the heroine is ignorant to, thus keeping the reader engaged and waiting for history to repeat itself--especially since the first four pages of the next chapter, in my opinion, should have been vastly tighter and shown.

Still, I never looked back. I read the whole trilogy in less than four days and loved almost every minute of it.

I'd recommend not only reading it, but also buying yourself a copy.


  1. ooh! Thanks for sharing this review! I LOVE that first paragraph! Jenni

  1. Tana said...:

    That opener does sound like a powerhouse. I think I'm getting sucked in too!

  1. Isn't it awesome? It doesn't start off with the action, like I've been told you're supposed to, but I think it works.

  1. Sounds like a great series. I'll have to check it out.

  1. great teaser! what genre?

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