Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Troll Blood - Katherine Langrish
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
# of pages: 395 (UK paperback)
Published by: Harper Collins
Recommended for: ALL AGES.

My Thoughts

I am seriously not exaggerating when I say that the Troll Trilogy is one of the greatest series I have ever read – and I’ve read a lot of books. Within the series, readers are given hearty doses of fantasy, folklore, history, and culture of not one but two civilizations: the Vikings of 10th century Norway and the Native Ameri--er, Canadians. It delivered on action, suspense, romance, and a little bit of comedy, too.

The direction of the third (and final) book in the trilogy completely changes directions from the other two; instead of the familiar fells and surrounding areas of Norway, our characters are now part of an expedition to a whole new world (North America, in other words). Apparently, good ol’ Christopher Columbus wasn’t the first European to reach North America – the Vikings made it over about 500 years earlier, and from this piece of history, an amazing story unfolds. Troll Blood reads a little more like a historical fiction story with fantastical elements added in. I may have my terminology all wrong, but it reminds me of an MG “magical realism” story: there’s magic involved, but it’s placed in a very normal context, not overt in tone like some of your other fantasy series books. I found that really refreshing after reading so many overtly magical stories.

Plot: Like I said, this book takes the series in a different direction, and what an exciting story emerged! By removing the characters from their familiar environment, the story that develops has a bit of a suspense edge to it – you truly have no idea what’s going to happen next, because so many elements have changed. There seem to be 3 plots that unfold over the course of the story: Peer, Hilde, and Company’s expedition across the sea and everything that develops with them; the characters in Vinland and their interactions with their visitors; and finally, the emotional and psychological development of the main characters. Peer and Hilde don’t just have a physical journey – they embark on an emotional one, too.
Frequently I found myself marveling at how much action had taken place over the course of the series, beginning with Troll Fell. With each book, the plot got a little darker and a little more involved, which was a really cool progression and one that is no doubt easier said than done. I think it’s so cool how Ms. Langrish was able to progress her story so smoothly without getting too over-the-top or too mature. Books nowadays are either really superficial or have-a-meltdown- serious and thematic. So bravo for giving us great stories that amplify over the course of the series!

Characters: Peer and Hilde change so much from 12 year olds to 16 year olds, and yet they retain the same personalities and characteristics that made me love them in the first place. I love romantic storylines that are done right – and ones that aren’t the main focus of the story. It was so sweet to read about Peer and Hilde struggle with their feelings, but it was very refreshing to have more going on in the story, too. And all of the new characters were very strong and well-thought out. I personally couldn’t help but like Harald, even though he’s totally wicked! Hmm, maybe he’s one of Draco Malfoy’s ancestors? And Astrid, the reluctant wife of a Viking explorer with a few skeletons in her closet, was such an interesting character, too. I thought I had her all figured out, but boy was I wrong!

Ending: I tag on this category for series-enders – it’s a chance for me to hurrah or whine about how a series was wrapped up. I love closure, but too much closure and I think you lose some of the intrigue of the story that you had during your reading experience. I felt like Troll Blood gave me enough closure but also left a window open for me to fantasize a bit! The last few chapters were just incredible – lots of action, lots of excitement, and a few “no way!” outbursts. You just have to read this for yourself!

Final Rating: 5/5. Yeah, it’s that good

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