I’ve been a Matthew Reilly fan for a number of years. Yes, his plots are over the top. Yes, the characters find themselves in impossible situations but always find a way out. Yes he’s an Aussie like me. They are all reasons that I read and enjoy his books. I love the action, the ingenuity, the never give up attitude, and the grand scale of the settings (and I think that MR’s diagrams are cool too).
For my normal followers, now is the time to warn those who haven’t heard of or read MR’s books, his books are normally written for adult readers. However, MR does state in an interview at the end of Troll Mountain, which has been released as three novellas/episodes, is targeted to a family audience. There is some violence, so it’s up to you to decide if it’s suitable for Middle Grade readers or not.
I’ve decided to write these review comments as I complete each book. I wanted to capture my thoughts on each episode before I was backed up or disproved in the next episode/s. So, you’ll either see how way off I was along the way … or be amazed at how perceptive I was ahead of the final climax (see, I’m even assuming there’s an awesome climax as I write this).
A dauntless young hero. An army of brutal monsters. An impossible quest.
Journey to the mountain …
IN THESE, THE THREE SERIALIZED EPISODES, MATTHEW REILLY TAKES YOU ON HIS WILDEST RIDE YET: A HEADLONG QUEST TO THE DARK HEART OF THE KINGDOM OF THE TROLLS. – Goodreads
by Matthew Reilly
In an isolated valley, a small tribe of humans is dying from a terrible illness. There are rumors, however, that the trolls of Troll Mountain, the valley’s fearsome overlords, have found a cure for the illness: a fabulous elixir.
When his sister is struck down by the disease and his tribal leaders refuse to help him, an intrepid youth named Raf decides to defy his tribe and do the unthinkable: he will journey alone to Troll Mountain and steal the elixir from the dreaded trolls.
But to get to Troll Mountain, Raf will have to pass through dangerous swamps and haunting forests filled with wolves, hobgoblins and, worst of all, the ever-present danger of rogue trolls …
The journey to the mountain has begun. – Goodreads
My thoughts – Episode I
This is a complete surprise from Matthew Reilly. The storyline and writing style is totally different from any other MR writing that I’ve read (that’s most of his books). The language used is quite simple, almost childlike, but that gives the book the very feeling that I’m being told a true story by some wise old man.
I may be on the wrong track, but I see the story has a much deeper meaning. My guess is that it’s really making a statement on how the real world works. It’s entertaining and the plot moves along at a brisk pace, so I’m jumping straight into Episode II.
The only unguarded entrance to Troll Mountain is the abandoned kingdom of the hobgoblins. With no other route available to them, Raf and his newfound friends, Ko and Dum, enter the dark, dank world of the hobgoblins.
But is it truly abandoned? – Goodreads
My thoughts – Episode II
And so … we have a cliff-hanger at the end of Episode II.
This second part of Troll Mountain sees the return of trademark Matthew Reilly maps and traps, which I love to refer to as I read through the story. They’re a handy feature indeed.
I’m still convinced that the whole story is a reflection of modern society. Manipulative powers at the top and everyone fighting their own struggles below. On to Episode III.
by Matthew Reilly
Raf’s mission to Troll Mountain is in ruins.
Having penetrated the mountain, only to be caught in the act of stealing the fabled elixir, Raf must now face the trolls’ champion in a fight to the death.
As the trolls gather to watch the fight, Raf watches them closely. If he can somehow survive this fight, his mission may not be over.
The final battle for Troll Mountain is about to begin. – Goodreads
My thoughts – Episode III
Well, the action cranks up a notch in this one. Up to normal Matthew Reilly levels. I did enjoy reading this story, so much so, that I read all three in a relatively short time (for me).
As for the climax that I was hoping for …. you’ll need to read the books to find out. And, in case you’re wondering if my earlier ideas(in my thoughts for Episodes I and II) about the underlying inspiration and message were correct, I’d rather not reveal too much plot or detail in my review, as I’m not one for spoilers.
I suggest you read the interview with Matthew Reilly at the end if Episode III and you’ll see that his comments will either back-up or trash my thoughts.
As a loyal and long term Matthew Reilly fan, I was bound to like these books. Although they were quite different to MR’s other books the story kept me enthralled and glued to them until finished. They may not be for everybody, but then again, no books are. Great job MR.
Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.