The Kingdom of Trolls

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
390 Pages
Reviewed on 01/21/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

In The Kingdom of Trolls by Rae St. Clair Bridgman, Wil Wychwood and Sophie Isidor, descendants of a lineage of mages, face a renewed confrontation with the ancient malevolent secret society, the Serpent's Chain, in Iceland. Concerns arise when Aunt Violet and Aunt Rue win a fully funded trip to the volcanic region. Renowned explorer Vitellus Albumen's warnings about Iceland's desolation ratchet up their apprehension. As preparations for their journey begin, news of a stolen manuscript from the MiddleGate library implicates Bartholomew Bertram, a friend of Wil's father, who is tossed into prison. The problems continue to mount when a mysterious scriptorium reveals the Serpent's Chain's presence in Iceland through glimpses of the past. Connecting their woes at home with the unfolding events, the cousins must tackle the unimaginable matter that pops up: trolls.

Today is the day I learned that there are no snakes in Iceland, and not just in Rae St. Clair Bridgman's fantastical novel The Kingdom of Trolls, but in real life too. Bridgman does an exceptional job of further world-building, something that readers of the previous books in the MiddleGate series, The Serpent's Spell, Amber Ambrosia, and Fish & Sphinx, have grown accustomed to. Bridgman is a master of atmospheric descriptions, symbolism, and foreshadowing, blending them into gorgeous prose like, "The raven atop the mast swooped down onto the great horn of the dragon and preened its feathers. A single black feather from the raven plummeted to the deck, and Sophie picked it up and stowed it carefully in her sketchbook.” I love how the most serious and surprising moments are lightened with humor. I nearly fell over laughing in a scene where real trolls react to seeing troll dolls, which was absolutely hilarious. Overall, this is an engaging, engrossing, and wonderful installment of the series, and I have no doubt it will delight all who read it. Very highly recommended.