by Amanda Hocking
When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself—that she’s a changeling switched at birth—she knows her life will never be the same. Now she’s about to learn that there’s more to the story…
She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined—and they’ll stop at nothing to lure her to their side. With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers—and marry an equally powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who’s strictly off limits…and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.
*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
This is the second book in author Amanda Hocking's Trylle trilogy. You might remember my scathing review of the first book, Switched ( HERE ), and the fact that I hated it so much. And you're probably asking why on earth I would read the second book, right? One reason is because I do admit that I'm curious how this story ends, but the bigger reason is that a friend of mine has unknowingly been teaching me tolerance for fluff.
I didn't hate this book as much as the first. Maybe I was prepared for it, or maybe I am learning that tolerance. While I still don't think there is any reason these characters need to be trolls, except to be different from the usual vampires and angels, this book got a bit more use out of it. We learned much more about the rival faction, the Vittra, in this book. Having these two warring sides, and learning about their differences and their histories made it a bit more interesting, although it was all still rather weak.
The actual storytelling leaves much to be desired. Again, there were too many pointless conversations and situations. One example, some dramatic events had happened earlier in the day and now everyone is safe and at home and Wendy is soooo exhausted and emotionally drained but before anything she feels she needs to check in with her brother and make sure he's ok, and explain everything to him. Ok, yeah, that's believable. But the crappy storytelling kicks in by having Wendy go to her brother's room and have a two minute conversation in which she says she doesn't have time to explain right now. What?? Wasn't that the reason she just had to see him? Ok, wait, it gets better . . . She leaves him after their non-conversation and goes back to her room to take a shower and get cleaned up, and then goes back to her brother's room to talk to him. WHAT??? So really, we couldn't have eliminated that shower part and just got on with a decent conversation? Because ooooooh, the suspense that one extra page built up nearly killed me. *GAG* So she goes back and it says she told him everything, although we got none of that conversation. And then the next day or something, there is a conversation between Wendy, her brother, and some other people, and it says that Wendy had purposely left out details of what was going on so her brother wouldn't get overwhelmed. So why then did she go back to his room after that shower and tell him *everything*???
Ugh, endless situations like that. Endless overuse of that highly annoying delay tactic where important information is about to be learned but things are interrupted for one reason or another, or one character will always say "There's no time for that now," or "I'm not the one who should be telling you." STOP IT!!!! I doubt that even a 14 year old dreamy eyed girl reading would be getting anything out of such techniques.
Ridiculous situations to create brief moments the author must have imagined or seen elsewhere and needed to duplicate are another ongoing problem. An example here is that Wendy again had been doing something but felt she needed a shower to relax before whatever the next drama was, but she gets into her private bathroom and finds she's out of body wash. This seemed like an odd detail, out of place in the rest of the storytelling, but still common for this author. Anyway, did she not notice the last time she took a shower that she'd used the last of that body wash? Had someone else been using her private bathroom and used the last of her body wash without her knowledge? Whatever. She needs some damn body wash! Keep in mind, she is a princess living in a huge grand palace. What does she do? She puts on her robe and goes walking down the hall to the closet where more bath supplies are kept. Huh??? But ooohhhhhhh, this was needed because apparently there is no other possible way to have her run into the guy she's in love with but who seems to be avoiding her. Oh! I see it now! *puke*
It also drove me nuts how this bumbling, uninformed girl would miraculously transform into a perfect regal hostess and conversationalist whenever someone of importance was around. It would have been so much more believable to have her stumble her way through such situations, have her advisers always sort of fill in the conversational gaps. One of many annoying points with Wendy is that she always, ALWAYS resorts to yelling at people in her conversations. Apparently the author is imagining emotional dramatic punch this way but really, it's just annoying. I know if I was talking to someone who yelled at me in every conversation, I'd eventually just avoid talking to that person. She mutters a lot too. I just really do no like this main character.
I never felt any bond or attraction between Wendy and Finn. That is a relationship that started back in the first book, and I think we're supposed to be all heartbroken and pulling for them to find a way to be together, but I just don't feel it. I'm pretty sure they will indeed end up together in the end but I'm just not caring for either of them along the way.
There is new possible love interest in this book. His name is Loki, and he is also an impossible partner for her because he is from the rival Vittra. The story tries to make us feel this magical, immediate bond they supposedly have but again, I didn't feel anything for these two. Finn and Wendy at least have some history at this point but it's supposed to be some love at first sight thing with Loki and it's just not working.
Even with all this negativity, there were a couple slightly interesting things in this book that kinda caught me off guard. I even almost cried at one point. *GASP* I'll do a quick run through of the books, and there will be spoilers, so stop here if you don't want to know.
In the first book we find out that Wendy was switched at birth and that she is actually a troll. When she is 17, a tracker named Finn comes to find her and take her home, back to a secret troll compound in Minnesota. (That's just so funny to me. I *love* Minnesota, but it's just so funny.) There she meets her mother, who happens to be the queen of these trolls. That means Wendy is a long lost princess. Of course in the time they spend together, Wendy and Finn fall for each other but she learns that they can never be a couple because she is royalty and he is a lowly tracker. Wendy also encounters a rival troll clan called the Vittra, who try to abduct her. She is only given bits of information about them and why they want her, and it's implied that she has strong mind powers that the Vittra want to take advantage of. Wendy has also learned that some trolls have powers like control of the weather, or moving objects, or controlling minds. The first book ends with Wendy narrowly escaping another Vittra attack, and her deciding to run away and go back to her other 'normal' home.
The second book picks up right where the first left off. She is back home and trying to explain things to her brother. Finn and another tracker show up that night to persuade her to go back to the troll compound but she refuses. That same night she is abducted again by the Vittra and taken to their own compound. It is there that she learns the king of the Vittra is her father. She eventually learns that her mother and father had married in attempt to bring peace between these two factions, but it all backfired and they continued to be at war. One of her abductors is Loki, and they seem to have an immediate connection. He lets her and her friends escape, and later lets himself be captured in Wendy's compound. Does he really want to be with Wendy or was he sent on King's orders? Although it was somewhat explained, I never really did understand what the true reason was. Wendy finds out her mother is dying and this is why she has been pushing Wendy to learn everything she'll need to know and do to rule the kingdom. She also eventually realizes that at least some of the people closest to her are driving her training (to control and strengthen her mind powers) because they hope she will be able to kill the king and bring peace once and for all. On a side note, her mother arranges a marriage for Wendy that will also supposedly aide in the strength of the kingdom. The chosen young man is a friend of Wendy's but not anyone she'd ever consider marrying. It is Tove, who has been a character since the first book, and has become my favorite character of the series so far. Wendy is mad that Finn won't even try to fight for a way to be with her. She rejects Loki's offer to run away from all of this and be happy together. And this second book ends with Wendy and Tove admitting they are not in love with each other but agreeing that there could be much worse things than marrying each other.
So, even though I pretty much hated this second book too, I will go ahead and finish out the series when the third book comes out. I'm sure there will some cheesy turn of events that will bring peace to the trolls and allow Wendy and Finn to finally be together. And I'm sure there will be a tons of crap writing and weak storytelling to get us to that point. But I'll suck it up one more time.
Have you read this book? Have you ever struggled through a book you hate? Or do you give up and move on to something hopefully better? I'm curious.