Book Review: Ascend (Trylle Trilogy #3) by Amanda Hocking

11947829Title: Ascend (Trylle Trilogy #3)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: April 26th 2012
Amanda’s Blog | Goodreads

Wendy Everly is facing an impossible choice. The only way to save the Trylle from their deadliest enemy is by sacrificing herself. If she doesn’t surrender to the Vittra, her people will be thrust into a brutal war against an unbeatable foe. But how can Wendy leave all her friends behind…even if it’s the only way to save them?
The stakes have never been higher, because her kingdom isn’t the only thing she stands to lose. After falling for both Finn and Loki, she’s about to make the ultimate choice…who to love forever. One guy has finally proven to be the love of her life–and now all their lives might be coming to an end.
Everything has been leading to this moment. The future of her entire world rests in her hands–if she’s ready to fight for it.

Ascend is the third and final installement in the successful, previously self-published Trylle trilogy by Amanda Hocking. This series sold a million copies before being picked up by a large trade publisher, and in my opinion, it’s obvious why. I previously read and reviewed Switched and Torn, the previous two books in the series, and enjoyed both of them.

Ascend follows the same successful storylines the previous books did, but now reaches a breath-taking climax in the finale. We have Wendy Everly, main character extraordinaire and Princess of Trylle, who now has to take up an entirely new role she never dreamed she’d need to, not this soon. As the number one person standing in the way of the Vittra king taking control of Trylle, she has to wage a war – both a real one, and an internal one. Her friendships are tested, old relationships are put in a different light, and new loves are found.

Wendy grows a lot emotionally in this novel, and it’s great. She grows from a teenager into a young adult, ready to handle difficult situations heads on. She’s always been fiercely loyal, protective and brave, but now those characteristics are enlarged. We see glimpses of the woman she’ll become one day, and I don’t think Trylle could’ve found a better Queen. She doesn’t judge, she sees all humans and trylle as equal, and although she doesn’t think she’s very social herself, she does have a lot of good friends who’d support her through everything and who she’d support as well.

The story itself is great. The plot twists are intriguing, and never predictable. I read this book in one sitting until the wee hours of the morning, which isn’t all too surprising considering how awesome it is. Not only does Wendy truly shine in this novel, so do the secondary characters. I especially liked Tove. He deserves his own series of books. I’d love to read those (hint, hint, Ms Hocking! :P).

My favorite character, besides Wendy, is Loki. He really rocks each scene he appears in. Handsome, devilishly charming and intelligent, he has everything you’d want in a love interest in a YA novel.

The only thing I felt slightly lacking was the ending. I had expected more. But I’ll shut up about it now, so I don’t accidently give out any spoilers.

I don’t want to spoil too much, so I’ll keep this review brief. Ascend is an astonishing, grand, final volume in the Trylle series. It lives up and surpasses its predecessors. The Trylle trilogy is an awesome YA series with a kick-ass heroine, intriguing side characters and a storyline that’ll keep you reading from page one till the end. Don’t miss out on this one!

Book Review: Torn (Trylle Trilogy #2) by Amanda Hocking

11966216Title: Torn (Trylle Trilogy #2)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance, Faeries, Trolls
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Publication Date: March 1st 2012
Amanda’s Blog | Goodreads

The second book in this page-turning trilogy from the phenomenal Amanda Hocking
Acknowledging that she was different from everyone else wasn’t difficult for Wendy Everly – she’d always felt like an outsider. But a new world and new family is a hard for any girl to accept easily.
Leaving behind the mysterious country of her birth, she is determined to fit back into normal life. But the world she’s left behind won’t let her go that easily. Kidnapped and imprisoned by her true family’s enemies, Wendy soon learns that the lines between good and evil aren’t as defined as she thought. And those things she’d taken for granted may have been lies all along. With the help of the dangerously attractive Loki, she escapes back to the safety of Förening – only to be confronted by a new threat.
It’s time to make a choice – can she put aside her personal feelings for the sake of her country? Torn between duty and love she must make a choice that could destroy her one chance at true happiness.

In Torn, the sequel to bestselling novel Switched by Amanda Hocking, which I previously reviewed on the blog, Wendy is slowly growing into her role as Princess of Trylle, the heir to the throne. She is fiercely loyal, brave, and more than anything, she sees all people, human or trylle, as equal. While she still pines over Finn, her bodyguard and fierce protector, she also feels more and more attracted to Loki, who works for the king of Vittra, who is Trylle’s worst enemy.

Who I really liked in this book was Tove. He’s great. He’s fun and intriguing, and has so many layers that he’s never once boring. I also liked Emily a lot more, and also Elora, although I still dislike her at times. The characters were just so much more fleshed-out and developed, they really came to life on these pages.

I’m a bit disappointed by Finn though. I understand where he’s coming from, but there’s only so many times you can keep on making the same excuses and yet making the same mistakes all over again. I wanted him to give up his daft attitude before Wendy changed him for Loki, but it seems Finn has trouble getting the message.

As far as Loki is concerned, I loved him. Right from the start. There’s a lot of chemistry between him and Wendy, and it really shows on the pages.

The story, while obviously an inbetween-story for the real climax in book three, doesn’t disappoint. It drew me in from the start. I actually liked it even more than Switched, and I already liked that one a lot. It’s a more mature story, newer and more original than the first in the series. I have no trouble understanding why over a million people bought this series, and where Ms. Hocking’s success comes from.

If you love young adult novels, or paranormal romance, or better yet, both, don’t miss out on this series. There’s a reason why it’s so successful – these books are great. I highly recommend them to all fans of this genre.

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

11457525Title: Switched (Trylle Trilogy #1)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: January 5th, 2012
Goodreads | Amanda’s Website

What if your entire world was built on a lie?
Wendy Everly knew she was different the day her mother tried to kill her and accused her of having been switched at birth. Although certain she’s not the monster her mother claims she is – she does feel that she doesn’t quite fit in…
She’s bored and frustrated by her small town life – and then there’s the secret that she can’t tell anyone. Her mysterious ability – she can influence people’s decisions, without knowing how, or why…
When the intense and darkly handsome newcomer Finn suddenly turns up at her bedroom window one night – her world is turned upside down. He holds the key to her past, the answers to her strange powers and is the doorway to a place she never imagined could exist. Förening, the home of the Trylle.
Finally everything makes sense. Among the Trylle, Wendy is not just different, but special. But what marks her out as chosen for greatness in this world also places her in grave danger. With everything around her changing, Finn is the only person she can trust. But dark forces are conspiring – not only to separate them, but to see the downfall everything that Wendy cares about.
The fate of Förening rests in Wendy’s hands, and the decisions she and Finn make could change all their lives forever…

Wendy Everly is not your average girl. She barely touches food, and half of the food she does end up touching, she despises. When she was five years old, her Mom tried to kill her, because she was convinced Wendy wasn’t her own child, but a changeling, switched at birth. How strange as it sounds, even now her Mom, safely locked up in an asylum where she can no longer try to harm Wendy, is still confident her youngest daughter is not her own.

But as she grows older, Wendy gets more and more convinced her Mom might’ve been telling the truth. She has a strange ability to influence other people’s decisions, and although it happens mostly on accident, it’s still dangerous. When handsome Finn shows up behind her window one night, telling her that she’s in fact a troll, Wendy’s worst nightmare becomes reality. Her mother was right all along: she isn’t human. Worse than that: she’s a troll. On the giant list of supernatural creatures you’d lik to be, trolls don’t score particularly high.

After scarcely escaping an attack, Finn takes Wendy to Forening, the land of trolls, much to her dislike. There Wendy meets her real mother, who happens to be the Queen of Trolls. Not only does her mother show absolutely zero emotion toward Wendy, it seems as if no one in Forening is prone to many emotions. Wendy struggles to adapt to her new lifestyle as a princess, to being guarded day and night and to be stuck in the middle of a war happening between two rivaling Troll tribes. And in the midst of all that, she also manages to fall in love…

When I saw Switched in my local book store, I was immediately intrigued. Not so much by the back blurb (I have to admit I didn’t even read it) or the cover (although it’s beautiful) but because it’s written by Amanda Hocking, the queen of self-publishing, the author who managed to sell over one million copies of her books…on her own. Of course I had to read it and see what all the fuss was about.

Switched definitely didn’t dissapoint me. With trolls as the main supernatural species of interest, I was immediately intrigued. The YA book world definitely isn’t overflooded with books involving trolls. Wendy is a likeable main character, especially because she has a bunch of fun quirks that reveal her true heritage, but nobody figures them out, like barely liking anything she has to eat. The book is told from Wendy’s POV, but I really enjoyed her POV. I also liked Finn. As far as love interests though, he holds up his own. He’s mysterious, dangerous, dark and seductive. He also borders on being a stalker since he guards Wendy practically day and night, but at least it has a cause in this book.

I have to admit there wasn’t a lot of action in this book. It builds up the tension for what’s to come, and introduces us to the world of trolls, the characters and their dynamics, but that’s about it. What makes up for this lack of action though, is Amanda Hocking’s engaging writing style and her sense of humor. I’ve laughed out loud several times during this book, and that is a great sign. I loved some of Wendy’s remarks, and Finn manages sarcasm very well also. The humor really added an additional point to this novel.

The romance is awesome. The bond between Wendy and Finn is clear from the start, and although they pull back and give in several times, it’s obvious they share a real connection. When they kiss, the passion practically drops from the pages. I’m not only very impressed by how well the author pulled this off, but also longing to read more.

Switched is definitely a great start for the series. After I finished reading this one, I couldn’t wait to buy the sequel and read it as well. If you’re a fan of YA and you want to read about the untapped fantasy troll world, then this is an excellent choice.