Click here to return to the main site.

Book Review

Book Cover

The Lost City


Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: Pan Books
377 pages
RRP: £8.99
ISBN: 978 1 52900 130 3
Publication Date: 09 July 2020

Ulla Tulin is abandoned as a baby one cold winter’s night, left to be raised by an elderly Troll couple. Full grown she acquires a place at the citadel of Merella. As a half troll it is her best chance of acceptance and her only chance of finding her mother…

The Lost City: Omte Origins Book One (377 pages, including Glossary) is the first book in a new fantasy trilogy, written by Amanda Hocking. She has published two previous series set in the same universe, neither of which I have read. Having started by selling her books as e-books, she has gone on to make some not inconsequential millions.

Far be it for me to criticise an author’s choice of world building, but the story is set in 21st century America. It has jeeps, fries and magazines. The names of the major cities and regions remain unchanged, including Minnesota and Oregon.

In-between these are place with fictitious Nordic names, as if the trolls had somehow migrated to the American continent and then followed a similar historical process, as the human and troll world exist at the same time, but without the human world being aware of the trolls.

So, Ulla drives and listens to Sia. There is none of the biting satire of Pierre Boulle’s La Planète des Singes (1963) with its reflections on human behaviour and morals, what you get here is Scandinavian trolls in America. It probably makes more sense if you have read the previous novels.

So, the story is split into an A plot and a B plot. The main narrative has us follow Ulla’s quest to find her parents, who I suspect by the end of book three turns out to be part of a deposed royal family. Thereby fulfilling Ulla’s journey and legitimising the position of half breeds in troll society. The B plot revolve around Ulla’s various romances. For plot excitement we have Eliana, a young girl who has lost her memory, but is also being pursued by dark forces.

Overall the story is told smoothly, although at times it can slow for info dumps. It contains the elements you would expect from a young adult novel, a spunky heroine, on a quest to find her real self, even if at times this seems to take a backseat to helping Eliana.

The setting of Scandinavian trolls in the heart of America would have worked better if they had been more distinct. True, one tribe has asymmetrical faces and there are differences in colouration, but take out the history and the small amount of magic the book may just as well have been about a human girl.

In the end it fulfils the remit of a YA novel, there was nothing awful about it, but at the same time nothing special.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

Kindle edition
Kindle edition