John Vornholt,
The Troll King
(Aladdin, 2002)

Have you heard the horror stories about how powerful fairies and elves are and how they would quickly kill you if they ever saw you? You have if you are a troll from Bonespittle. For generations, adults have been telling troll children how gruesome and terrifying these creatures are. About the only thing more terrifying might be Stygius Rex, the mean sorcerer who rules the trolls, ogres and ghouls who live in his realm. No living troll has ever seen a real fairy or elf, but they've seen Stygius.

When this crazy old wizard has a dream about building a bridge across the Great Chasm to link the two kingdoms, Rollo, a 14-year-old troll, is "recruited" to the cause. It is soon determined that this young bridge builder has natural leadership abilities. Add to this his surprising ability to use magic and you have the makings of a troll who would be king.

In John Vornholt's The Troll King -- the first book in a trilogy -- Rollo demonstrates why it was Stygius's misfortune that Rollo was trollnapped for this project. Through a series of adventures that lead Rollo across the chasm and back, the reader can follow the adventures of a young, timid troll as he quickly grows up in to an adult.

Author John Vornholt has had many careers ranging from stuntmen to journalist to publisher. As an author he has written several books in the Star Trek series as well as dozens of other books in various genres, including children's fantasy. He lives in Arizona along with his wife and two children.

The back cover of The Troll King states that the book is aimed at those ages 10 and up. I've known 8-year-olds who are reading Harry Potter books. If the intended reader has progressed that far, then these books will not be challenging enough. I would put these books at about the reading level of The Chronicles of Narnia, although not as much fun to read in my opinion.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed The Troll King (despite the few editing problems it contains). What I did like about this book is that it will teach young readers that one cannot cast stereotypes on someone simply based on their race. Trolls, ogres, elves and fairies will find that they do indeed have some common ground and that differences do not necessarily equate to evil. I should also mention, since this is a book about trolls, that ugly is in the eye of the beholder.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 1 January 2005

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