Troll Blood by Katherine Langrish

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Troll Blood by Katherine Langrish

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Completing the Troll trilogy, Troll Blood ambitiously blends the history and mythology of two cultures with Langrish's customary verve. It's a fittingly rousing end to a superior series. Recommended for all fantasy lovers of 10 and upwards.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: February 2007
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0007214860

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Last in the Katherine Langrish Troll Trilogy, Troll Blood follows Peer and Hilde on a voyage even more dark and dangerous than their previous, troll-fighting adventures. When a Viking longboat lands at their village, Hilde is desperate to join its crew. The Water Snake is headed for Vinland, recently discovered by Leif Eriksson. When Peer agrees to accompany her, Hilde's parents reluctantly agree.

But all is not as it seems. It soon becomes frighteningly clear that seafarer Gunnar and his cruel, arrogant son Harald have dark secrets. Astrid, Gunnar's girl-bride also has a past she would prefer to hide. And waiting for them in Vinland are not only the Skraelings, its native people, but also the jenu, a creature besides which even trolls pale into insignificance.

I love these books. Katherine Langrish is often compared to Alan Garner. She uses the same blend of history, mythology, fantasy and magic to spin a thumpingly good tale that is both realistic and dream-like. The Troll trilogy perhaps lacks the deeper social and political themes employed by Garner, but she is writing for slightly younger readers, so this is not a criticism. The two writers certainly share a common vision and create a similar world in the deep past, where mythological creatures are real and where realistic people live in a realistic emotional landscape that has an element of the supernatural as an intrinsic part of its daily life. Langrish takes a pace more towards fantasy than, for example, does Michelle Paver.

In Troll's Blood, Peer is once against asked to stand up for truth and justice and asked to do it alone. Hilde is asked to gain maturity, responsibilty and inner honesty. There is plot, drama, love, loss and longing. None of these are fantastical. They are all situations in which today's children feel quite at home. The historical details are awesomely researched and Langrish creates Viking and Skraeling societies that are utterly believable. And always surrounding the events is a dark, forbidding swirl of the supernatural - ghosts, monsters, trolls and totems. And, of course, the Nis, a Viking house spirit, because not everything otherworldly is also a threat.

Troll's Blood stands up by itself, but you really should read the others first.

Thanks to the publisher, Harper Collins, for sending the book.

The first two books are Troll Fell and Troll Mill. Children who enjoy the blending of history and magic would also enjoy Alan Garner's The Owl Service and Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.

Katherine Langrish also has a great website. It's well worth a visit.

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