Book review

Troll Mill by Katherine Langrish (2005)

Part two of the Troll trilogy

I don't know if Peer thought he would live happily ever after, when he went to live with his friend Hilde and her farming family high up on the edge of Troll Fell... but I certainly thought he would. What more could happen? Peer had already lost his father, and survived the dreadful treatment of his ogre uncles, and capture by the ghastly trolls. And he had a stalwart friend in Hilde.

Actually I thought Peer and Hilde were made for each other. But this is where real life intervenes. Hilde spends much of her time looking the other way, at Arne. He is older than Peer, and fair of form, face and character. And Peer, well, he is tall and slightly awkward, and perhaps Hilde thinks she knows him too well, since they live under the same roof:

She turned to face him, her eyes clear in the last of the twilight. "I was rude to you this morning, Peer. I shouldn't have said what I did. And I'm sorry."
You look like a heron! If I did think about anybody, it certainly wouldn't be a little boy like you!
The words buzzed in the air around Peer's head, and they stung just as much as they had that morning. He flushed and mumbled something, looking down.

The problem for Peer is that he has to find his own place in the world:

He clenched his fists and screwed his face up in agony. What a fool he was! Of course she wouldn't think of him. Who was he, anyway? Just a homeless, friendless stray the family had taken in. Not much more than a herd-boy.
That's not fair, he told himself. Gudrun and Ralf treat me like a son.
But I'm not their son. That's the point, isn't it? The farm will go to Sigurd one day. I'm working for nothing.

And that's why he goes back down to the old Troll Mill, that has stood empty since Peer and his uncles abandoned it three years ago. Maybe he can get it going again and become the Miller of Troll Fell:

Arne may have a boat, he thought. But I've got a mill!

It's a pity really then that the lubbers have beaten him to it and moved into the mill. And the trolls as well for that matter. Oh! And his uncles have reclaimed it as their own. Hmm...And Granny Greenteeth is on the prowl.

There's a huge swirl of magic and evil here and all Peer has to fight it with is his own quick wits and tenacity, and some courage and a lot of loyalty to his family and friends.

What more could any boy do? I just hope Hilde has a rethink. This is a trilogy. She has one more book to do it in!

I was completely entranced by this book, just like the first one. It may be set in a world of myth and magic but the emotions are real and raw. Brilliant! Highly recommended.

What can I read next?

It's a trilogy, and you should read them in order:

If you really enjoy Viking stories of dark magic, you might like to look at the Snow-Walker Trilogy by Catherine Fisher:

And there's some pretty strong magic in this series by Joseph Delaney:

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