Troll Mountain – book review

Troll Mountain

Troll Mountain is the new and intriguing YA novel, written by Matthew Reilly.

In a remote valley, a tribe of humans are being killed off by a terrible and seemingly unstoppable disease. The only hope for a cure relies on the rumour that the trolls of Troll Mountain have a miraculous elixir.

When Raf’s sister gets sick and his tribal leaders refuse to help him, Raf makes the courageous and possibly foolish decision to set out on his own for Troll Mountain and to steal the elixir. With trolls around every corner, will Raf be able to steal the potion to save his sister? And more importantly, does such a cure even exist?


I’m really sad to say that this book just didn’t do it for me. I’d heard of Matthew Reilly before and I had heard that he was really popular, so when I heard that he had written a new YA novel, I was eager to read it. Little did I know what I was in for. Trolls, uninteresting plot and uninteresting characters were just a few of the things this book had in stall for me. I didn’t hate it, it’s just that I didn’t really feel anything for it at all. There’s a part of me that loves it when I hate a book, because it means I feel passionately about it and will likely remember it in the future, for better or for worse. So it makes me a little disappointed to find that this book didn’t make me fall in love with it or hate its guts. If books had guts. With this book, I couldn’t care less.

Okay, let me discuss one very important detail right now. Trolls. Trolls. I don’t like to think that I’m racist, or troll-ist, but there’s something about trolls that makes me cringe. I think it was my experience with Switched by Amanda Hocking. For those of you who haven’t read this book, or this series, I will explain it really badly in one sentence – boy troll meets girl troll who previously thought she was human and then takes her to a troll palace. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what happens. I was a little distracted by the fact that… trolls. Okay, I’m getting sidetracked now, but you get the idea. I have kind of a bad relationship with trolls. And please, if any of you have read the Trylle series by Amanda Hocking and loved it, let me know! I’m willing to try and mend this relationship. It’s not beyond hope yet! At least, I hope it isn’t.

So obviously, this book has trolls in it. Duh. If you can’t tell that from the title of this novel, you’re a little bit slow. Sorry to break that to you. So I was willing to try and think positively, that I was most definitely in love with trolls. But there’s only so much you can fool yourself into believing. There was another aspect of the trolls that I didn’t like, besides me just not liking the general idea of trolls. I didn’t like their disjointed and childish way of speaking. I understand that trolls might speak like that, but it really frustrated me. It was clichéd and overdone and I just felt as though there was nothing original about this book, particularly in that area. Maybe I’m just not a troll person. I should have known better though before committing myself to reading this book.

Let’s get to discussing the human characters now, shall we? Raf, the protagonist, felt like a very bland character and like he had no real substance. I didn’t really see different sides to him and he seemed to get out of every single situation or problem he faced too easily. There was never any question as to whether he would survive. I was never on the edge of my seat, praying that Raf would live to see another day. Even if I thought he was going to die, I wouldn’t have cared much anyway because I felt like I didn’t have any sort of close bond to him. I didn’t hate him, but I didn’t like him either. He wasn’t particularly special or complicated and that annoyed me. I love characters with depth and intrigue, and I felt like Raf was lacking that.

I also felt like a lot of the other characters weren’t developed. Because of that, I found that I didn’t connect to them and I didn’t have any feelings for them. Another thing I didn’t particularly like about this book was the plot. I briefly mentioned it before when I said that Raf overcame obstacles too easily, but the whole general plot line was lacking. In particular, it was lacking in detail. When I started reading this book, I immediately realised that Matthew Reilly writes differently to any other author’s novels I’ve read. There were no beautiful and poetic descriptions. There wasn’t excessive detail. Sometimes I really love that. Sometimes I think that it’s good to just be straight-forward and to no lot lose what you’re trying to say in the way that you’re trying to say it. But with this book I just felt like a little more detail could have done it some good. Things happened in the blink of an eye and I felt like it needed some padding out to make these moments more memorable, or so that important events happened in more than the space of just half a page. It suppose it’s all down to personal preference, but isn’t everything? Reading is subjective and no two people read and interpret a book in the same way. And I think that’s a beautiful thing. Though sadly, this book was not beautiful to me.

I guess my main issue with this book was that it felt a bit young. I understand that YA has a wide audience, from kids as young as ten to adults, I really don’t feel as though there’s an age limit with these books, though some issues may fall short with an older adult audience. However, these books are most commonly read in the age group of 12 – 24, would I be right in assuming that? Perhaps this book would have appealed to me more if I was 12, but I just felt as though this book was trying to reach younger readers. I think the fact that I don’t read a heap of fantasy meant that I didn’t get into this book as much as I would have liked. I read a lot of contemporary and dystopian but hardly any fantasy. Perhaps I need to try some more fantasy. If any of you have any ideas of fantasy books that I might like, I’d love to know!

So ultimately, I didn’t really enjoy this book. I felt like there were some crucial things missing in both the plot and the characters and I felt like this book was a little young in comparison to all of the other YA novels I read. I’d give Troll Mountain by Matthew Reilly a score of 3 out of 10. If any of you have read this book, I’d love to know what you thought!

Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

14 thoughts on “Troll Mountain – book review

  1. Great review! It was really in-depth and great to read. I’ve never read anything involving trolls and I almost picked up the first book in the Tyrelle series a few months ago but failed to pick it up.

    • Thank you so much! Yeah, perhaps trolls aren’t my thing because I’ve never found a book with trolls in it that I’ve enjoyed reading. Perhaps one day I will, though my hopes aren’t high 😉

  2. I don’t have such a high troll hate, so I might enjoy it. But I get what you’re saying about it being childish–it sounds pretty kidish and I don’t know if I’d be able to get into that. Great review though! Loved the detail!

  3. I wasn’t a fan of this book either, and I don’t mind trolls. I agree with you. It felt unoriginal and the characters were bland, and it did feel young. I haven’t read any other Matthew Rielly but like you heard of him and new his was popular so I was expecting a lot more.

    • I’m glad you feel the same way, even though it kind of sucks that we didn’t like this book. I want to fall in love with every book I read, but I know that’s not possible. But I do always have my favourite books to turn to in times like these!

  4. Hi!

    I recently discovered your blog through Inside A Dog and I have been inspired to start my own book reviewing website: I love how detailed your reviews are, and how you manage to scatter fragments of humour throughout the text to make it enjoyable to read but still informative. I have been taking good book recommendation from you, and so thank you for doing all the hard work and discovering all these good books for me to read! I have a few questions for you, and I hope you can take a few minutes to answer them. Of course, you don’t have to answer them publicly if you don’t want to, you can privately talk to me, through my blog [which is pretty much private already because I have like 0 visitors] or something.

    1. How long ago did you start this blog and what gave you the inspiration to?
    2. Do you post your reviews on any other websites, such as GoodReads? I know you post a few on Inside A Dog but you don’t have many there.
    3. Do you ever review adult fiction? Or just YA?
    4. How do you manage to get books as soon as they come out? Do you buy them all, or do you sometimes go to libraries?
    5. How long does it take you to do each review, on average?
    6. Do you take notes or something while you read the book to review it later?
    7. Do you review every book you read?
    8. Have you ever tried reviewing movies or something other than books?
    9. How many visitors do you get on your blog on average, over a set amount of time?

    Thank you!

    • Hey! I’m so happy you discovered my blog and I’m looking forward to seeing the reviews you write on yours. Thank you so much, I really appreciate that! Great questions too, and here are my answers for you:

      1. I started my blog just over two years ago. At school, we had to do a project that we worked on for the entire year and I chose to do book reviewing. I love watching PolandBananasBooks on YouTube (she’s a booktuber) and I thought I could do something like that, reviewing books, though I wasn’t very confident and therefore I thought it would be easier to write what I thought, instead of actually being filmed saying it. I didn’t even know what WordPress was until I just stumbled across it when I was working out how to make a blog and that’s how this blog started. Writing book reviews became a passion of mine and I’ve continued it long after that school project was due – and I hope to be writing book reviews for a long time to come.

      2. Besides Inside A Dog, I don’t post my reviews elsewhere. Sisters in Crime asked me to review a few books for them once, so you might find a couple of my reviews on their site, but besides that, no. I signed up for GoodReads but I got confused with how to post reviews on there and how to link it to my blog and so I just kind of left it. I’m happy with just my blog and Inside A Dog. I post most of my reviews on Inside A Dog, just they don’t show all of them on my page. If you went hunting for them, you’d find them all 🙂

      3. I mostly review YA because that’s the vast majority of what I read and I love reading it. I’ve reviewed a couple adult fiction books on my blog, like Landline by Rainbow Rowell and Room by Emma Donoghue, but I hardly read any adult fiction so therefore I don’t review much of it.

      4. I’m lucky to receive books from publishers such as Allen & Unwin, Simon & Schuster, Hardie Grant, Hot Key and Pan Macmillan, so they send me books that I request in exchange for an honest review. Some of those books are Advanced Reader Copies so I receive them before the general public so I can read and review them for publicity and whatnot. I buy most of my books because I love having them on my shelf and I feel more compelled to read them if I’ve spent my money buying them, as opposed from “renting” them from a library. I spend a lot of time in libraries though, as I do some community service there. I just love being around books and I want to transform my house into a library!

      5. It takes me about 45 minutes to do each of my reviews. I don’t know if that’s average or not, but I like to do about 1,000 words, give or take a few, for each review. And of course, it takes a little bit of time to embed links and add tags and everything.

      6. No, I don’t take notes when I read a book. Most of the time I’ll review a book I’ve read the day after I read it so that everything is fresh in my mind. I like to let my thoughts and emotions settle once I finish a book so that I’m not rambling too much, so that’s why I write my reviews the day after I finish a book.

      7. I definitely try to review every book I read. Sometimes I’ll be reading almost a book a day and it gets a little hard to review all of them, so I might not review one, but I always try to review the books I read. It’s a way for me to remember which books I’ve read and what I thought of them as well. And of course, if I’m reading a book for literature or if it wouldn’t fit with my YA theme, then I don’t review it on my blog.

      8. I’ve never reviewed anything other than books. I’ve always thought about trying to review movies because I work at a cinema part time and get free movie tickets, meaning I’ve seen practically every movie that is out. However, doing all of these things takes time. Work, classes, book reviewing, YouTubing… I wish there were more hours in the day! Perhaps I’ll give movie reviewing a go one day. I’d like to start another blog that I write a whole lot of random stuff on too, like what I think of movies and current affairs and stuff. One day…

      9. My number of views varies each day, sometimes I’ll get over one hundred views, other days only ten. It’s more effective to see how many followers you have, and at the moment I have about 420 WordPress followers.

      I hope those answers helped and I wish you all the best of luck with your blog! 🙂

      • I’m so happy you took the time to write a reply! Thank you so much! And OMG ikr, Goodreads is so so confusing. I just go there for the giveaways 😐 LOL

      • No problems, anytime! I know, I gave up on Goodreads in that aspect, though I still go there to check out what other people think of certain books before I buy them 🙂

      • Can I ask, how do you get free books from publishers? Do you send emails and ask or do they just send you random books from time to time?

      • I emailed a few publishers asking if they would be happy to send me books in exchange for reviews. Sometimes they already have enough reviewers in their database, but other times they’re more than happy to send out books and receive feedback. I usually request which books I would like to read 🙂

      • Oh wow, you’re so lucky to have so many people visit your blog! Hopefully my numbers will boost if I keep on persisting. Do you have contact details for any publishing groups… I seem to have trouble finding them *_*

      • I’m very lucky to have people follow my blog and read my reviews. They’re honestly some of the nicest people on the internet. You’ll definitely get more views and followers the longer you have your blog. I just found all of the contact details for publishers on their websites x

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