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Ascend: A Trylle Novel    by Amanda Hocking order for
by Amanda Hocking
Order:  USA  Can
Griffin, 2012 (2012)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Ascend follows Switched and Torn as the conclusion to Amanda Hocking's paranormal Trylle trilogy. It's set in our world, in which a race of magical beings live alongside humanity and (like cuckoos) arrange for wealthy humans to raise their offspring.

Wendy Everly didn't know she was a Trylle, though she did have a disturbing childhood. After her wealthy mother knifed her at age six and was institutionalized, Wendy was raised by her loving elder brother Matt and aunt Maggie. She was in constant trouble, resulting in repeated moves to new schools. After she discovered the ability to influence others to do her will, tracker Finn showed up, revealed that Wendy was a Trylle changeling and brought her back to their tribe. Though Vittra (at war with her tribe) tried to kidnap Wendy, she was taken to meet her unloving mother and to learn her duties as a Trylle princess.

Though I missed the second book (and recommend reading the series in order) it wasn't too hard to catch up. As Ascend opens, Wendy still has her forbidden love for Finn (a tracker is too low on the social scale for their union to be permitted), but is also attracted to bad boy Vittra prince Loki. Somewhere in that episode, she also met her father Oren, an evil Vittra prince (shades of Darth Vader) who wants to rule all the tribes and will do anything to achieve that. Her mother Elora (not so unloving after all) depleted her powers defending her people, and is now close to death. Wendy has begun to master her own abilities and is engaged to marry her gay friend Tove, a powerful noble.

Though there is a truce with the Vittra, they are going after changelings and soon attack and decimate a Trylle community, Oslinna, using hobgoblins. Wendy celebrates her eighteenth birthday, is married, loses her mother, and gives amnesty to Loki (seeking refuge from his own people after being tortured by Oren). Playing for time, Wendy makes a deal with Oren (one she has no intention of keeping) to hand over her rule once she becomes queen. But her mother dies sooner than expected, after painting a dire vision. To stop that future from happening, Wendy and her friends take the battle to the Vittra, hoping that surprise will give them the advantage.

This Trylle series is somewhat of a cross between a paranormal Princess Diaries and Star Wars. Though it's rough around the edges - and Wendy (after her bratty childhood) ends up too saintly and self-sacrificing to be believable, curiosity kept me reading to the end.

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