Title: Troll or Derby
Author: Red Tash
Length: 3469 Kindle units
Rating: 4 stars
It all starts when Deb has to rescue her sister Ginnifer from a trailer fire set by Ginnifer’s drug dealing boyfriend Dave. Deb manages to get her sister out alive, but while they are at the hospital, some of Dave’s unpleasant allies kidnap Ginnifer again, so Deb has no choice but to go after her again. Little does she know that on her tail is a troll named Harlow who only wants to help her as she becomes enmeshed in the fantastic world she’s about to find out that she’s a part of.
Troll or Derby was an entertaining and enjoyable story. It was definitely a different kind of twists on faeries and trolls, where both species lived in the human world and wreaked havoc on unsuspecting mortals in some very cruel and disturbing ways. There is a scene involving blue licorice fairy candy that I find particularly upsetting if I think about it too hard.
Roller Deb was not your average YA heroine, and I mean that in a good way. She roller skated everywhere she went and had aspirations of someday joining a roller derby team, and she doesn’t give a crap if that means that all her fellow trailer park residents think that makes her a lesbian. She is fiercely protective of her family and shows that she will do just about anything to keep her sister safe, and considering who has her sister and what they plan to do to her, that’s saying something. And when we finally find out what species Deb is… I don’t want to give spoilers, but she’s super awesome and officially my new favorite type of faerie.
The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of Deb and Harlow, and I’m not sure how I feel about this. Deb tells most of the actual story, and Harlow provides cultural background with an occasional plot point. This leads to a couple of problems. First, when they are together, the story seems repetitive, and sometimes when they are apart, their stories do not seem to be on the same timeline. Also, in order to have Harlow not give everything away, he remembers different amounts of his history at different times. This gets really confusing in parts, and as of the end of the novel, I still only have a vague impression of their history.
Frequent readers of my blog know that I am not a huge fan of gritty. Troll or Derby definitely had a lot of grit – rapists, drug lords, human slavery. It was not a pretty scene. But. Somehow in all of this, the book didn’t feel that gritty. It kept a light-hearted tone that prevented me from getting too down in the dumps about how horrible and irredeemable the bad guys were. And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, really. I mean, it kept me interested instead of putting that uncomfortable pit feeling in my stomach. I just felt like I should be taking the bad guys more seriously.
I am still a little bit unclear about some of the romantic dynamics in the story. It seems that when Harlow and Deb were little, they were bonded together in some way, which means that as soon as Harlow sees her now, he knows he has to follow her and protect her. And as soon as she sees him, she knows they have a connection. In order to keep her protected, Harlow does something that involves wearing her teeth around his neck that means that they are married, though Deb would probably freak if she were made to understand this. All in all, it’s not a traditional courtship, and there are probably a few kinks left to be worked out.
Will I read more?
As of the end of the book, I still feel like I have many more questions and answers. Why did Dave and McJagger want Ginnifer in the first place? Was it only to get to Deb? Or are there other things going on? How will the troll court resolve its succession issues? And will Deb ever find out that she’s married to Harlow? These and many more things I would like to know, and thus I will probably tune in for book 2 to see how the overarching plot develops.
See Details for Book on Amazon