Book Review: The Gift of Dark Hollow by Kieran Larwood

Warning: this review may contain some spoilers for The Legend of Podkin One-Ear, the first book in the series.


Fun and fast-paced, The Gift of Dark Hollow is the second book in the Five Realms series by Kieran Larwood. It picks up almost immediately where the first book, The Legend of Podkin One-Ear, left off. Podkin; his sister, Paz; his baby brother, Pook; their erstwhile guardians, Crom and Brigid, and a whole host of rabbits rescued from the grips of the merciless Gorm – including their comatose mother – are taking shelter in the warren of Dark Hollow, deep in the heart of Grimwood Forest. Meanwhile, in the other part of the story, our Bard has decided he had best be moving on from Thornwood, joined by Rue, a younger son of the chieftain, with him as a potential apprentice.

I felt that the pace of this book was slightly slower than the first book, especially in relation to Podkin’s story: less actually seems to happen. However, this isn’t really a criticism. In the first book, the Bard’s story didn’t feel important until right at the very end, but this isn’t the case in this book. Knowing the Bard’s true identity, we find him desperately hiding this identity from all comers, including other travelling bards and his new apprentice. This adds a whole new element to the story and one which I enjoyed.

As in the previous book, Podkin is joined by a whole host of characters. From the last book, we still have Crom, Brigid, and Mish and Mash. Of these, Brigid was easily my favourite. In this book, we are introduced to a new group, and I really enjoyed these new members of Pod’s gang. We got a young, adventurous bard out for a good story, a masked assassin and a coward, who, in my opinion, only cares about one person: himself. They all added something extra to the group, forcing the acrobatic brother and sister of act, Mish and Mash, further back on my list of characters. The characters from the old book all got on so well, were harmonious in their goals, where as the new ones add an element of conflict and mistrust, making the interactions that much more interesting to read.

One thing that I have been really impressed with in both the Five Realms books is the strength of the opening chapters. For both, Larwood has hit the nail on the head with the sense of intrigue inspired from both.

Like the previous book in the series, I would certainly recommend this book to people looking for a fun, quick read – and of course to children. Though, as with most sequels, it goes without saying that you should read the previous book in the series first!

One thought on “Book Review: The Gift of Dark Hollow by Kieran Larwood

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Beasts of Grimheart by Kieran Larwood – Book Reviews | Jack's Bedtime Reading

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