Book Review: “Troll Fell” by Katherine Langrish

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If you thought the Dursleys were bad foster parents, wait until you meet the twin uncles of Peer Ulfsson. Scarcely waiting until after his father’’s funeral, Uncle Baldur and Uncle Grim sell off Peer’’s possessions, appropriate his chickens, and set him to a life of slave labor on very short rations. And that’’s not even the worst of it. For the greedy Grimssons have their heart set on the buried treasure of a nearby colony of trolls –– and to get it, they need to hand over a boy and a girl as gifts at a royal troll wedding.

Of course, Peer suspects that his uncles intend for him to be the boy slave, and the daughter of a neighboring farmer to be the girl slave. But as the date of the troll wedding -– Midwinter –- draws nearer, Peer’’s hopes and plans to foil his uncles’ plan go awry. What can he do, when he is threatened by two giant uncles who beat him, starve him, and work him half to death, as well as their enormous, vicious dog? What can he do, when the farmer he has counted on to help him has gotten lost at sea, presumed drowned? What, indeed, when his allies include a mercurial house-spirit, a millpond monster that lures people to a watery grave, and a little dog nearly as starved as himself?

When it finally seems that Peer can do nothing but run for his life, he is faced by terrifying choices. Will he turn out to be better than his dreadful uncles? Or will his fear, anger, and despair bring him down to their level? And for his final choice: will he abandon himself to his worst fear in order to save others?

Troll Fell is creepy, suspenseful, rollicking good fun. Set somewhere in Scandinavia during the age of the Vikings, it has a unique concept of trolls backed up by a writing style that transports you effortlessly to that amazing time and place. It is its author’’s first novel; may it be the first of many!