The Gift of Dark Hollow by Kieran Larwood

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The Gift of Dark Hollow by Kieran Larwood

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Judy Davies
Reviewed by Judy Davies
Summary: Much like Kieran Larwood's first book, Podkin One Ear, The Gift of Dark Hollow is a breathtakingly exciting tale of good versus evil, told in a mesmerising way. I love the art of story telling and although this is a book, it comes as close as it can to recreate the feeling of sitting listening to a great story being told by a skilled story teller. I wait impatiently for book number three!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: September 2017
Publisher: Faber & Faber
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780571328413

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This is the second marvellous book featuring the rabbits of Enderby, and the delightful young rabbit hero, Podkin One Ear. I love the format of a story within a story. The adventures of Podkin in The Gift of Dark Hollow, are told by an old rabbit who has been a Bard all his life - a teller of stories and legends from the rabbit world. The Bard has an apprentice, Rue, desperately eager to learn his trade. He hangs on every word spoken by the Bard as they travel together to a festival. Rue is hungry to learn the art of story-telling, but also wants to know all about Podkin One Ear, and what better way to do this than to hear from the Master himself. The tale he tells Rue (and us) is a gripping and scary one, featuring Podkin and his friends in their ongoing battle to overturn the ruthless Gorm, and their cruel leader, Scramashank.

Podkin and his family are in hiding in the Dark Hollow warren, regaining their strength after a fateful skirmish with the Gorm, and nursing their injured back to health. They feel safe in the dark forest, but constantly watch for signs that the Gorm have discovered them. The atmosphere is gloomy - an impressive way to set the scene for an exciting adventure. The lovely illustrations in The Gift of The Dark Hollow perfectly echo the mood of the rabbits, and have many intricate details among the drawings.

Podkin is an endearing character, timid yet determined, and desperate to be taken seriously by the elders of the warren. As a Chieftain's son, he knows he should take the lead, but is constantly pushed aside and accused of interfering. This gives him the chance to wander deeper into the warren in an effort to make discoveries that might help in the ongoing struggle against the Gorm.

The old Bard has a central role in The Gift of Dark Hollow and his character is described in more detail. He is mysterious and secretive, going about his business without wanting to be recognised. Rue has to work very hard to get him to re-tell the story. It is fantastic story telling and although this is a novel, it comes as close as it can to recreate the feeling of sitting listening to a skilled story teller.

This is an adventure story, fast paced and tense. It seems that the free rabbits of Enderby will be easily overpowered by the Gorm, with their deadly weapons, armour and devious spies. The fight is to preserve the rabbit race at all costs, but most of all so that rabbits can once again live in peace.

Kieran Larwood has an easy story telling style and the action moves quickly. He gets to the heart of things so that one feels what it would be like to be trapped, hunted, too frightened to draw a breath, to feel despair, yet somehow find the strength to carry on. The story within a story device could be confusing but Larwood effortlessly moves between real-time and story-time. Before you know it, the reader has arrived at the festival, with the Podkin tale only half told. Rue incessantly badgers the Bard to carry on with the story and the reader instantly bonds with Rue, desperate to know how it all ends. It is a fantastically exciting tale for both young and old readers alike. I eagerly await book three!

This is a must read for fans of the first in the series Podkin One-Ear. It will also appeal to lovers of The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien and Richard Adams's Watership Down.

Buy The Gift of Dark Hollow by Kieran Larwood at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Gift of Dark Hollow by Kieran Larwood at

Buy The Gift of Dark Hollow by Kieran Larwood at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Gift of Dark Hollow by Kieran Larwood at


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