Pros: Very original world; neat story
Cons: Overly chatty; too many annoying characters
Rating: 3 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Willow Tate is a graphic novelist who just came up with a new idea for her next book. Vampires and shape-shifters have been done to death, so she’s going to tackle… trolls! She sketches out a few ideas, including a fire engine-red stone-skinned good guy named Fafhrd. Only things take a turn for the weird when she looks out her window and sees chaos, mayhem, and in the middle of it all: a big red troll that grins at her and vanishes. Of course her neighbors only remember seeing a trolley… or was it a train? Maybe a truck? But definitely red. Unfortunately that’s hardly Fafhrd’s last appearance, and soon Willy finds herself taking a trip back home to the Hamptons to look for a missing boy, save the world from an Evil Genius, and find out the truth behind all the weird people that populate her hometown… and her family.
Celia Jerome’s Trolls in the Hamptons is told in the first person from Willy’s point of view, including plenty of chatty thoughts. This makes for great humor, but it also gets a little painfully over-detailed and overly-thorough at times. It definitely could have been a tad leaner, particularly at the beginning.
The world-building is the best part of Trolls. The people and places come alive; the fantastical back-story is unusual and fascinating; and the whole of it is definitely something new and extraordinary, and a welcome break from vampires and were-creatures. Fae in this universe are dangerous creatures, and they simply do not belong in our world. The community of people who are mostly human (but have a touch of fey blood to them) is handled surprisingly well; it incorporates the eccentricities of small-town life in great ways.
I absolutely love the humor of Trolls, but I did sometimes find the characters a little overly annoying. I wanted them to be at least a little less obnoxious to each other. Thankfully, however, they come together as much more enjoyable characters just in time for the climax of the book, which allows the book to end on a high note. I did also have some trouble buying into the chemistry between Willow and her love interest, Grant, but similarly, they ended up working out well too by the end. Mostly, I get the impression it took Jerome a little while to warm up as she dove into these characters and Willow’s voice.
[NOTE: adult sexual content]