My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Torn, book 2 in the Trylle Trilogy, unfortunately fell prey to a common trait of middle books in a trilogy -- fluff, stuffing, having little story arc of its own.
In all fairness, I enjoyed reading it (hence the 4 stars), but there were many things I disliked about the book. But, I feel like I am constantly tearing books apart, telling all their negative qualities and not giving them praise for any of the things I did like. So, before I get to the negative stuff, I'm going to try to explain what I did like about Torn.
First, I enjoyed the humor sprinkled throughout this installation of the Trylle story. It wasn't much, but I found myself smiling (or grinning) several times which is impressive because books have to be very moving to get a physical reaction out of me. I even shared a quote from the book on Facebook.
Second, I enjoyed learning more about the Trylle empire, history, lifestyle, etc. The world building in book 1 was good, but not nearly as strong as it is in book 2. The difference in the classes is clear and the separation between them believable.
And Third, the character development. The bonds of friendship Wendy developed in this book were far more believable than in the previous book. Wendy really seems to grow and develop as a character, becoming stronger in her opinions and determination as well as in her ability to control her powers. Finn, while sometimes a frustrating character, remains true to his upbringing and his firm belief in the class system. I'm not entirely sure I accept the attraction between Loki and Wendy, but the way Loki behaves is believable after learning some of his history. I'm also not sure I believe Matt would behave as he does once at the Trylle palace or that Willa would betray her upbringing for him, but sometimes people don't do things you'd expect them to do.
Possible Spoilers Following!
Now, on to the things I didn't like. It was predictable. I guess the announcement of who her father is was the only real twist I didn't see coming. I knew from book 1 that Wendy and Tove would be engaged. I knew from book 1 that Finn would not betray propriety, that their relationship would go nowhere. He was there just to give Wendy someone to pine after and whine/complain about. I never really felt the connection between the two of them, it always felt kind of forced. I knew from the moment Loki was introduced that he would be her next big heart-throb, but (as referenced in the book) it would be a Romeo & Juliet kind of relationship.
I think the thing that bothered me the most is that the story really didn't accomplish much of anything, acting more like filler to set up book #3. Wendy runs away, gets captured, meets forbidden boy #2, gets rescued, pines after boy #1 and #2, learns more history (a lot), accepts her duty, and gets engaged to boy #3 (who happens to be her friend, and oh yeah, gay too -- grr). That about wraps it up.
Also, the little bit of action in the story seemed contrived and unnecessary. In book 1, the action actually had a purpose: The bad guys wanted to capture Wendy and she had to fight against them. In this book, she threw herself into a situation where the bad guys could get her mainly so we could meet boy #2. And really, that was the end of the action. The rest of the story was about her flip-flopping emotions and coming to terms with accepting her dismal future as Queen, choosing duty over love.
But, you know the story isn't over. There's book 3. You know Wendy has accepted that things with Finn will never be. You also know that, while she claims to accept the idea of a loveless marriage with little prospect of any chance of love to develop, she is an emotional creature driven by her heart -- and she wants Loki. She feels protective of him and when she finds out about his imprisonment (which she will somehow - probably Sarah sneaking back to tell her), she will set out to rescue him (and I bet Finn gets dragged into that just so we can see him suffer, and maybe give up his life to save hers because, you know, she can't be with someone else if he's still alive). And you know that Elora will die and Wendy will be crowned and peace will end only to be found again once the truth about why they are fighting in the first place comes out. Oh, and I completely expect the 'big battle' to occur during the coronation ceremony or at the wedding. Probably the wedding, which will happen right after she is crowned, because, you know, soap-opera syndrome.
See, I didn't mean to sound so negative about the book because I really did enjoy reading it...a heck of a lot more than Imaginary Girls (which I have yet to force myself to finish ~sigh~)...but I wish some of the issues hadn't existed so the story could have been even better.
I'll be requesting book #3 (Ascend) in a couple weeks, after I tackle my huge stack of other books I've borrowed and really want to read (like TMI#5 City of Lost Souls - which I just picked up yesterday ~squee!~).
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