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In the Coils of the Snake (The Hollow Kingdom #3)

[A quick note: I waited years to read the last two books in this trilogy. I enjoyed the first book SO MUCH that I was afraid read the last two, afraid that I couldn’t enjoy them. It was a special treat to return to this world and read the conclusion of this wonderful trilogy. While it’s middle grade, it is mature enough that it will appeal to all ages.]

“The patterns of her mind were beyond his understanding, and her secrets were hers to keep. Her human heart would be the only one he would have to earn.”—Clare B Dunkle

Becoming a King’s Wife. That’s what Miranda was raised for. She spent her entire life learning and preparing. Marak, the Goblin King, selected her for this exact purpose. But when the long lost Elves return to Hollow Hill, Marak Catspaw makes a deal that changes everything. Miranda finds herself stolen away to the Elven kingdom. She’s a prisoner, bound to a pretty elf lord named Nir. Nir is handsome, and Miranda soon finds herself deeply in love with him. But he only sees her as a seventeen-year-old child. Tensions between the Goblin kingdom and the Elves escalate. Soon, Miranda finds herself at the center of it all.

This was a spectacular finale to The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy. Bittersweet in every way. I didn’t want it to end, but I liked the way it did. My only wish is that the books were longer, more detailed, and YA or Adult, instead of Middle Grade. Overall, I ADORE this series. I loved the theme the most. Both sides—goblins and elves—misunderstand each other. They must overcome these misunderstandings if they are to succeed and thrive. It shows that we don’t always know our “enemies” like we think, and that perhaps those who appear different aren’t as different as we thought. Just because someone is different, doesn’t make them an enemy. I loved that. It teaches understanding.

The story starts many years after the second book ends. Marak, the king we fall in love with in book one, is on his death bed. His son, Marak Catspaw is set to take over the kingdom. Marak’s final act is to bring Miranda into his kingdom. He has acted as guardian to this human girl, raising her to be the perfect “King’s Wife” for his son. His goal is to ensure the preservation of the goblin line. But Miranda’s childhood wasn’t easy. Her parents sacrifice made her an outcast. This was Marak’s intent. He wanted to make a strong King’s Wife.

“And so Miranda grew up with only one source of comfort: Marak became everything to the lonely child. Between the formidable personalities of her mother and her guardian, the young girl was molded and shaped, like hot iron between the hammer and anvil.”

Upon her seventeenth birthday, Miranda’s death in the human world is faked. She’s taken down below Hollow Hill into the land of the goblins. It isn’t an easy adjustment. While she was told what to expect, she still struggles especially to accept the ugly goblins:

“Because the fact of the matter was that many goblins were hideous. They didn’t just look funny, as Marak had always said. There were deformities among them that sent a chill down Miranda’s spine, a shock such as she might have felt at the sight of a corpse. She could barely swallow food in their company.”

And then...DUN DUN DUN...the long lost elves return to their lands. This upends EVERYTHING. Miranda finds herself at the center of a conflict between the goblins and elves. She’s a prisoner. But it is her time as a prisoner that we get to learn more about this mysterious elven race. We see bits of them throughout the first two books. Now we get to see a glimmer of what they once were. What they could be again. I LOVED that. It felt like the author was tying up all the loose ends to her world.

This book is most heavily plot driven. There’s not much character development given that it is middle grade. However, we do see Miranda change. She gets something ripped away from her, only to discover she wants something else entirely because of the circumstances she’s forced into. So there is SOME maturation.

The thing I like about this book the most is the theme. Goblins hate elves. Elves hate goblins. Each side thinks the other is evil. But they must come to understand each other. In the end, they aren’t so different after all. Miranda’s existence helps spur this discussion. This is a big realization considering the bloody history of both sides. For many generations, they both hunted each other. Now they can come to understand one another and work together to help their races thrive.

I’m so sad that this series is over. I’m going to miss it. And I’ll definitely be re-reading it at some point. Heck! I’ve read the first book 4-5 times. So I’m sure I’ll read the second and third a few more times. Definitely recommended for all ages.

MY RATING: 4/5⭐️


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