For the past several months I've been hearing about this Amanda Hocking person, the author who self published several ebooks and made a big name for herself. When I heard the story I thought it was awesome, and I ran out to buy the book (now in bookstores) to see what all the noise was about. It has a pretty exciting start: "A couple things made that day stand out more then any other: it was my sixth birthday, and my mother was wielding a knife. Not a tiny steak knife, but some kind of massive butcher knife glinting in the light like in a bad horror movie. She definitely wanted to kill me."
So I sort of just plunged in, ignoring the warning signs that appeared even in that first paragraph. So, what's my problem with the book? Okay, here goes...
Awkward sentences: I came across stuff that actually made me stop and reread it, or just stop to snort unkindly.
Character Problems: I for one, have a hard time finishing a book when I really dislike the main character. Wendy was just...annoying. She didn't whine quite as much as Bella did, but spent most of the novel feeling confused and nauseous, apparently.
Also, Wendy's mother, the "troll queen" gave one impression, warm and lovely for the first few seconds, and then turned into a total bitch-on-wheels the next, making me scratch my head and say, "Huh?"
Finn, the love interest, doesn't seem to have much of a personality. He goes from super creepy (sneaking into her bedroom *cough* Twilight *cough*) and constantly staring at her, to being some kind of suave and studly romeo.
Wendy herself seems a bit inconsistent. I would have pegged her as a strong character, but then she gets yelled at and belittled by the troll queen and never once stands up for herself. (But in the start she says she never stands for people picking on her, and will end up punching them eventually, hmmmm).
Pacing: You barely get a look at Wendy's ordinary world before she's chucked into the world of trolls, and that can be done if it's done well, but this time it just left me with a case of reader's whiplash.
Wendy goes from thinking Finn is creepy, to thinking she's in love in about 2.5 seconds.
The book started off interesting and the ending was pretty interesting, if somewhat random. I nearly put it down in the middle though.
Wendy makes an escape from the troll palace with her new "brother", and we as the reader only get two lines about it. Isn't an exciting escape in the dead of the night something we want to read about? Guess not.
Honestly, I don't usually like my book reviews to be a snark-fest. I do think that Amanda Hockings is a great storyteller, and that the book just needed WAY more polishing before it hit shelves. And please believe me, I'm not saying I can write better, (she's the millionaire now, not me). The criticism is strictly coming from me as a reader. I don't think I would buy the next few books in the Trylle series, but I will continue to watch her career with great interest, and only wish her the best. I would definitely buy books from her in the future, if they are more carefully polished.