- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 5 and up
- Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; First U.S. Edition edition (January 24, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006058307X
- ISBN-13: 978-0060583071
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,541,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Troll Mill Hardcover – January 24, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–Three years after the events of Troll Fell (HarperCollins, 2004), orphan Peer Ulfsson is living happily with his new family but is haunted by the memory of his two cruel uncles. Although they are now serving the trolls in the troll kingdom, Peer feels he has not seen the last of them. When their mill starts running again, seemingly of its own accord, Peer is alarmed, but determined never again to let anyone terrorize him. Even without the haunted mill, life is complicated–Kersten, the wife of his good friend Bjorn, has run off into the sea, leaving behind her baby with webbed fingers, and Peer suspects that she was a seal-maiden. Also, Peers feelings for his friend Hilde have developed from brotherly affection to something more. The narrative is tightly woven and more intense than that of its predecessor, and despite the presence of selkies, household fairies, and uncanny babies, the drama is centered around human struggles. In the tradition of Scandinavian myth and folklore, the conclusion is poignant and true, with enough open-endedness for another sequel.–Farida S. Dowler, Mercer Island Library, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Gr. 5-8. Strands of selkie legend frame Langrish's second book^B about likable orphan Peer and his corner of early Norse civilization, where the realities of sea, farm, and hearth come wrapped in shadowy tendrils of folklore. When a local woman disappears into the sea, Hilde's family (with whom Peer now lives) adopts her half-selkie baby, an act that incenses their volatile nonhuman neighbors. The upheaval intensifies the unrest plaguing Peer, now 15, who aches with unrequited emotions for his foster-sister. Finding new purpose in a plan to refurbish his treacherous uncles' abandoned mill, Peer haplessly stirs up further trouble, bringing his valiant, memorable surrogate family into yet another confrontation with the troll kingdom--and forcing Peer to face his savage uncles anew. Readers will want to start with Troll Fell (2004) to fully appreciate Langrish's elaboration on her characters' internal and external circumstances, though even newcomers will respond to the taut plotting and potent language; the rotating mill wheel "rumble[s] like some monstrous stomach," a ghastly beast slithers to the ground with a "squashy flump." The icing on the cake is an irresistible cover: lush, fanciful, and creepy in equal measure, it captures the best qualities of Langrish's evocative world. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
Peer is shocked when a fisherman's wife (who's rumored to be a seal-woman) dumps her newborn in his arms and leaps into the sea. Not sure what to do, he brings the baby to Hilde's family, but even as the fishermen hunt for the missing woman, Peer and Hilde realize that nasty creatures are after baby Ran -- including the lubbers and evil Granny Green Teeth.
While this is going on, Peer decides to clean out and repair the old mill, in the hopes that he can impress Hilde with it. But they soon discover that Peer's evil uncle Baldur (now a troll) has been using the mill to grind bones for bread. And even worse, two babies have been stolen from Hilde's house -- Hilde's baby brother, and seal-baby Ran.
Usually sequels are less interesting than the book before them. But Langrish actually makes "Troll Mill" better than "Troll Fell" -- it's more polished, better paced, and her writing has matured with the characters. In short, this book is everything a good fantasy story should be.
The plot unfolds very gradually, and Langrish's writing is solid and descriptive. There's even a bit of horror -- the lubbers and ghastly Granny -- romantic sparring, and some tragedy. There's even a bit of moral indecision when Peer tries to understand how an otherwise good man could kidnap the seal woman.
But Langrish doesn't forget the humor, such as a precocious troll baby tormenting the twins with gross songs and stories, or Gudrun giving the troll princess some parenting tips. Those little moments keep an otherwise grim plot from getting too heavy and/or dull.
We also get to know Hilde's family a little better, especially her mother. But Peer is still the hero, and he's struggling to overcome his abusive childhood, even as he tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Hilde is a bit more stubborn, since she obviously doesn't realize how much Peer means to her.
"Troll Mill" takes all the good things about Katherine Langrish's debut, and makes them even better. A charming, chilling sequel.
It is rare these days for a second book in series to be as good as or better than the first...but in the case of Troll Mill, Langrish has managed to pull it off spectacularly! I particularly liked that Granny Greenteeth, the Lubbers and the Nis got much bigger parts in Troll Mill, so we got to see more of them and learn more about what they are and how they live....and of course there are the trolls...it is Troll Mill after all, so they are also worked into the story this time around! I think Langrish does a fine job of aging and developing the characters from book to book and it's done in a way that is filled with suspense, interesting plot twists, and all manner of creatures, each out to get what they want while Peer and Hilde (and the rest of the family) try to figure out the mysteries before it's too late!
Overall, I give Troll Mill five stars. It is, in my opinion, as good as (if not better than) the first book. Langrish uses the same Scandanivian folklore/mythology as the first book in the series and build on it further...so you get trolls and get to experience the world of the selkie and the realm between humans and selkie all the while still being treated to a detailed look at the in's and out's of day to day life in the given time period. Troll Mill manages to do all of this and not drag or become mired in the detail...it manages to say fast paced and intense while providing a wealth of information. I'd recommend it for young readers interested in fantasy. I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with Troll Blood, the third book in the series (Troll Blood).