Raf’s only family has come down with a fatal disease that no human knows how to cure. The secret rests with the trolls of Troll Mountain – the very animals that killed the rest of Raf’s family. When the authorities of his tribe fail to make progress on helping Raf’s sister, he sets out on a quest.
While at first glance things in society seem very simple, the questioning voice of Ko and Raf’s quick learning expose universal truths. Adults will probably see most things coming, but younger readers will appreciate the unveiling of the potential ugliness of society. It also seems as if Reilly is having a quick stab at the current state of politics (but it’s not intrusive).
This is a novel of the journey, the plot, the scenery and lastly the characters. Raf undergoes character development, but it’s really just a side effect of the journey. It certainly isn’t enough to drive the story. But the plot is swift and doesn’t let the reader or Raf catch their breath, ending up in a short read for me that took around a half hour.
I’m not sure what I was expecting from this novel, but I don’t think it was what I expected from knowing about some of Reilly’s more popular works. I expected a gritty, heavy fantasy novel suitable for long-time converts, and instead got an accessible novel for all ages.
This novel was originally published in successive chapters as an ebook. I have to say, I probably never would have picked them up. I’m not very patient, and although each chapter wraps itself up nicely, and doesn’t form too much on an impatient cliff-hanger, I wouldn’t be good at remembering to keep reading it. I received this novel in a beautiful hardback from Macmillian. I’d suggest buying it for your young person in your life though – I think it would be worth reading and discussing. 3.5 stars from me.