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When a tribe of humans begins to be killed off by a mysterious illness, they learn that the fearsome trolls that inhabit Troll Mountain have created an elixir that will cure the disease.
However, all those who go to the mountain are unlikely to ever return.
When fifteen-year-old Raf’s sister Kira falls ill, Raf takes it upon himself to journey to Troll Mountain and retrieve the elixir. Raf’s quick thinking and resourcefulness come in handy on his peregrination; on the way he faces many challenges. During his quest he meets Ko, a wise hermit who lives in the middle of a swamp, and Dum, a misunderstood troll who vows to help Raf to find the elixir and save his tribe. Through a dried-up valley, a swamp and at last the Troll Mountain, Raf and his friends will have to use their combined strengths and work together if they are to make it out alive.
While Troll Mountain was an easy-to-read book that provided some clever plot twists, the characters felt underdeveloped and lacked unique, memorable personalities. They formed a cast of characters one would typically find in a fantasy myth such as this. There was the old, wise hermit who existed only to teach the protagonist valuable life lessons; there was the protagonist himself, whose character was composed of measures of bravery, sword-fighting skills and little else; there was the plague of dim-witted yet monstrous enemies (trolls in this case). I believe that these character tropes are quickly going stale, and I would have liked to see something a little different for once.
Having said that, there were elements of the story that were somewhat refreshing. The fantasy world was well thought out; maps of the land can be found throughout the book, and the history of the trolls and their mountain fortress is very interesting. This book is an action-packed story that is certain to keep people of all ages entertained, and the morals the tale will remind readers of are valuable ones.
Reviewed by Tierney Reardon, age 16
by Matthew Reilly
Published by Macmillan Aus