{review} The TRYLLE Trilogy by Amanda Hocking

Happy Troll Day!

In honor of the Illustration Reveal of some troll art from the upcoming THE HERO'S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM today at A Backwards Story, I've reviewed one of the hottest troll series around.  Maybe you've heard about it... It catapulted self-published e-book millionaire Amanda Hocking into a major publishing deal with St. Martin's Press!  Also be sure to check out today's troll-related Mythological Mondays!



Title: The Trylle Trilogy {SWITCHED, TORN, ASCEND}
Author: Amanda Hocking
Release Date: Out now (re-release of ASCEND coming Apr. 24, 2012)
Publisher: Griffin/St. Martin's Press/Macmillan
Received: Review copies

SUMMARY:

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of.

** I'm going to try really hard to keep this review spoiler-free for everyone just diving into the series! **

There's a lot to be impressed about when looking at everything self-published author Amanda Hocking has accomplished.  She's published several novels and captured a sweet mainstream publishing deal.  The series that made her so well-known, TRYLLE, has been/is being published by St. Martin's Press from January through April of this year to bring new fans to the series.  I've always had a mental image of trolls in my head (See today's Mythological Mondays post for more on this), but they're not at all the trolls of Trylle.  In fact, it took me a long time to pick this series up and read it; I might not have if I didn't have ARCs.  I'm glad I did, though, because Hocking shattered my expectations and delivered an engaging tale.

Without going into too much detail, the series revolves around Wendy Everly, who always thought she was a normal girl despite the fact her mother called her a monster and attempted to kill her as a child.  Everyone just thought her mom was crazy.  After all, how could Wendy not be her mother's child?  After a Trylle tracker named Finn finds her, she realizes that her mother wasn't crazy after all.  Wendy is a changeling, a Trylle (or troll, for those more used to the uncouth terminology).  When a warring faction, the Vittra, come after her, Wendy realizes that her family is no longer safe and runs away to Trylle with Finn.  Once there, she discovers that she's a princess posed to inherit the entire kingdom.  The series twines ambition, greed, political deceit, romance, war, familial relations, and fantasy together in a fast-paced trilogy.

While the story's roots aren't that uncommon (long-lost princess set to inherit), Hocking goes about building her world in a unique manner.  The series takes place in present-day, so while it can, at times, be jarring to see modern-day references such as film and music choices thrown around, it also works.  It illustrates the fact that Trylle is still a part of our world and that we COULD be living side-by-side without ever knowing it.  At the same time, I would have loved to see more Trylle music and art that Wendy was unfamiliar with.  It would have added an extra layer of richness to the story.  Some events, such as why the Vittra is after Wendy (which we don't discover until the second book, TORN, and no, I won't spoil it for you), come as a shock, yet make complete sense, as do the horrific discoveries readers learn after discovering more about the Trylle's special powers.  This series actually reminds me a lot of Cayla Kluver's LEGACY trilogy.  Some of the sweeping story arcs remain the same, such as the way marriages are arranged and carried out.  Unlike in LEGACY, however, Princess Wendy isn't whiny and weak.  She will be in charge, not a man, and strives to break generations of Trylle prejudice and expand rights to other caste systems in Trylle.  She can make a true difference in her kingdom.  At the same time, I get the same wishy-washy feeling when it comes to romance, where it's easy to root for multiple men to be Wendy's One True Love (What is it with teen book heroines and the fact that every guy in the book falls all over her?  Why doesn't this happen in real life??).  I won't say anymore, but the final result may or may not surprise you!

TORN was probably my favorite book in the trilogy.  SWITCHED spent a lot of time world building, and while TORN also had a lot of build-up to the final title, it also had the most revelations.  ASCEND seemed to rush by and wasn't quite as fleshed out as earlier titles, since most of the developments had been taken care of before its start.  Characters that start out as one-dimensional beings early on become much more fleshed out and developed, though at time, those same characters become less so later on as other characters take front stage and put them backwards.  The cast was just too big to give the entire ensemble of secondary characters enough page time without reducing some of them to more minor appearances.  At the same time, this can also be seen as Wendy's priorities changing as she embraces her role as future princess and becomes more tied up in the future of her kingdom, though she still cares deeply for characters who no longer make grand appearances.  Hocking never takes the obvious route despite the fact that the story's origins are fairly common.  Readers thinking they know what they'll in for will find themselves surprised by the turn of events.  Some readers love the turns, others don't, which have led to very mixed reviews for this series.  In the end, it's up to you to decide what you think based on the author's merits.  I personally fall somewhere in the middle.  I can appreciate what Hocking has done, even if I don't always love the way she chose to do it.  While I thought getting there was too rushed, I personally liked the way the book ultimately ended, though I never would have seen the twists and turns coming early on.

COVER DESIGN:

These books all have great covers.  They're magical and mysterious.  


I think TORN is my favorite of the three.  I love the coloring, and feel that the crown looks just right for this story!  

I also like the way the flowers on the first book are in full bloom, then seeding on the second book, and blowing away on the third.  It's the circle of life and shows the series' progression.

I also love the beautiful sky in the background of each book and the way there's always something different on the horizon.

Which cover is your favorite?


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