Sunday, 18 March 2012

Torn by Amanda Hocking

Torn is the second book in Amanda Hocking’s Trylle Trilogy. You can read my review of Switched, the first book, here.

Torn picks up the same day Switched left off. It carries on much in the same vein, except that instead of Wendy being new to the world of the Trylle and kept in the dark, she quickly learns more pieces of relevant back story. A few new characters are introduced, but the strength of this book is in developing existing secondary characters and unfurling the world’s history.

An aspect I found interesting was Hocking’s development of Wendy’s romantic prospects, something I didn’t quite notice until I was more than halfway through Torn. In Switched, while Wendy seems to have a small crush on every appropriately-aged boy, there’s only one relationship that she’s particularly invested in (romantically) and that seems to go anywhere. In Torn, she continues collecting crushes on all the appropriately-aged boys (actually, only one new one is introduced, but still). However, the romantic plotlines are less straightforward than what I’ve seen in other YA books. This is not a case of her having to choose between two options. For a start, there are three options. But more seriously, her choice isn’t between boy A and boy B who both have things to recommend them. It’s a choice combining duty, love, availability, how well the boy treats her and a few spoilery factors. It’s also not a final choice, this been only book two of three, but I like the added complexity and the way in which it’s explored. Once I picked up on it, Torn  became much more interesting.

It also helped that the book seemed to encourage sensible romantic choices. Unlike Twilight (it always comes down to Twilight, doesn’t it?), when one of the boys keeps pushing her away for her own good, she doesn’t sulk and throw herself off a cliff, she gets annoyed (and, OK, sulks a bit, but that’s understandable) and moves on. This quote, a piece of advice given her by her mother, sums up the series’ attitude well:

“I don’t need love or a man to complete me, and someday you’ll find that’s true for yourself. Suitors will come and go, but you will remain.”

Given that she’s seventeen, the attitude of “your life isn’t made or lost based on one romantic relationship” is healthy and refreshing.

Overall, I found Torn just slightly less exciting than Switched. I’m not sure I can quite put my finger on a single reason why, but it was still very enjoyable. I look forward to reading the third book when it comes out.

4 / 5 stars

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