Though I wouldn’t rank this series on the same level as The Hunger Games (see review here), I certainly enjoyed it, flying through all three books — Switched (Book 1), Torn (Book 2) and Ascend (Book 3) — in a matter of days. This review contains spoilers, so consider yourself warned.
The Trylle story follows the ascension of Wendy, a semi-delinquent teenage, to princess and then queen of her people during what can best be described as a civil war amongst tribes. There are class injustices, romantic struggles, epic battles, and … oh yeah, trolls.
The series opens up with a scene that should be a happy memory for any child, a birthday party. Soon, the tone of the story is set when the child’s mother attempts to kill the child instead of cutting the birthday cake. Wendy’s mom believed her to be an evil monster, and certainly not her own child. Turns out she was half-right.
We’re quickly brought into another world in which now-teenage Wendy is Princess to the Trylle people. She’s just found this out though, having grown up in a human “host” family pursuant to a Trylle tradition of changelings. Trylle babies are switched for human babies in order to have “enriched” lives and ultimately bring back family money to the Trylle population. Their changelings, i.e., the babies they are switched for, are raised with the Trylle but treated like second-class citizens.
Trylle are trolls, but not in the sense we think of … short, ugly, evil … at least not all of them. Wendy’s not too keen on the idea of being a princess of anything but can’t deny that for the first time in her life she feels like she belongs somewhere. She quickly learns that her people face almost certain death at the hands of a rival tribe of trolls, the Vittra, reigned over by none other than her father; and Wendy, being half-Trylle and half-Vittra is likely the only one with the power to her father and thus the impending doom.
Much of the series is spent on Wendy learning what it means to be a Trylle princess, to use her powers (many Trylle have some sort of supernatural ability, like telekinesis or predicting the future, though not many are as powerful as Wendy), and to ultimately make Queen-worthy decisions. The undercurrent is a theme of morality, freedom and fighting for what you want.
When Wendy first comes to live with the Trylle, she’s her usual stubborn, insubordinate self. And there seems to be no love lost between her and her mother, the Trylle Queen. Nonetheless, by the end of the series, Wendy emerges in her rightful place and seems to absolutely belong there.
While I don’t believe there’s much world-shaking art going on here, I definitely recommend the series as a good, entertaining read and would have kept going had there been more in the series.