Strange Chemistry | Paperback, 472 pages
April 1st, 2014
Young Adult | Historical Fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
“She foretold that when a prince of night bonded a daughter of the sun, the curse would be broken.” – Chapter 7, page 81
The day before she’s to move to the city with her estranged mother, Cécile was kidnapped. The abductor sold her to the trolls living in the magical mountain. All her life she thought that trolls are just a myth to scare off misbehaving children and a cautionary tale for the adults, but she was wrong. They are real, and the heir to the King of the city of Trollus needs to bond with a human in an attempt to break the curse.
Tristan is unlike any other trolls she’s heard about: handsome, fierce, and…rude. It didn’t take long before Cécile realizes that escaping, or even fighting with them is futile. So she decides to make the best of the situation. Slowly, she becomes an inadvertent sympathizer to the half-bloods in a brewing rebellion against the full bloods; and at the centre of this rebellion is someone of an unexpected surprise.
In Trollus, she will discover a blood magic that she didn’t know she possessed; she will also discover a love for its people and their bid for freedom. Most of all, she will find herself making a choice between freedom and fighting for the love of a prince she thought she hated.
This book sounds so good, doesn’t it? Fantasy, romance, trolls…how could I not love it? Well, very simple. I’m not a fan of this genre. I can’t stand fantasy, to be honest. It’s why I have several unfinished books in this genre (most recently, The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas). More and more, I realize that I am more of a realistic fiction reader than anything. Doesn’t have to be contemporary; my escape is no longer about worlds beyond my imagination. I am more than likely to enjoy a book that will break my heart than I would about dragons, trolls, and fae. Which is unfortunate, because a lot of books in this genre is a good work out if I ever want to do a bit of writing myself.
The world described in this book is as fantastical as they come: a mountain suspended over a city, giant slugs with toxin saliva enough to paralyzed trolls for their consumption, curses, blood magics and oaths. There is a ruling regent powerful enough to keep the mountain from crushing the entire city; and romance between two people desperate for their own freedom.
Readers would be given privy to both Cécile’s and Tristan’s perspectives. Unfortunately, Tristan’s very short and limited chapters only gave us insights to the present situations as they occur in the book. There’s really not much about him other than his fight, a bit about Cécile and the hate he has for this father. Cécile, though, she rendered the most perspective, also lacked any depth. I didn’t understand why she wasted time learning about useless things that could be considered frivolous. I mean, you learnt of a war brewing and you decide to polish your strategy by learning about music and art? She eventually started to take matters in her own hands by learning about Trollus’ history and the curse that has befallen them, but the story could’ve used a bit of trimming. I thought time spent learning about art and music was somewhat incongruous, considering what was at stake.
It took me a full week to read this book; it was one of those things when I was forcibly reading to stave off dying of boredom. Harsh? I’m sorry, okay?! It’s just, I could’ve easily quit but I made a promise to myself this year that I’m going to finish reading every single book that I started on January 1st. I know this has been well-liked by practically everyone that I follow on Goodreads, but I just couldn’t.
Regardless, if you’re a fan of fantasy, and trolls are something that you’ve yet to explore, you should check out this book. It just wasn’t for me.