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Review: The Lost City by Amanda Hocking

The Lost City by Amanda Hocking

The Lost City (The Omte Origins #1)
Amanda Hocking
Wednesday Books
Published July 7, 2020

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

About The Lost City

Nestled along the bluffs of the forested coast lays the secret kingdom of the Omte—a realm filled with wonder…and as many secrets.

Ulla Tulin was left abandoned in an isolated Kanin city as a baby, taken in by strangers and raised hidden away like many of the trolls of mixed blood. Even knowing this truth, she’s never stopped wondering about her family.

When Ulla is offered an internship working alongside the handsome Pan Soriano at the Mimirin, a prestigious institution, she jumps at the chance to use this opportunity to hopefully find her parents. All she wants is to focus on her job and the search for her parents, but all of her attempts to find them are blocked when she learns her mother may be connected to the Omte royal family.

With little progress made, Ulla and Pan soon find themselves wrapped up in helping Eliana, an amnestic girl with abilities unlike any they have ever seen before—a girl who seems to be running from something. To figure out who she is they must leave the city, and possibly, along the way, they may learn more about Ulla’s parents.

My Review

The last books I read by Amanda Hocking were in her Watersong series, about a cursed group of Sirens, so this book is a lot different!

Ulla and her friends are trolls– which seem to be very much like humans except in skin color and some features. Some tribes also have magic. One tribe is characterized by asymmetrical facial features.

On her internship, Ulla learns lots about the history and lore of various troll tribes and some of the politics between them. She’s curious about her mother, and hopes the resources available during her internship will help Ulla find her.

Though it’s populated with mythical creatures, THE LOST CITY is set squarely in our world with mentions of cell phones, fashion, familiar food, etc. I think this is something this author does well. She creates a familiar landscape and then tells an otherworldly story in it. I find that I really like those two things juxtaposed together.

This is a bit of a slower story, though. There are lots of tribes, lots of history. Many descriptions of food and furniture. Lots of conversations about those things. And lots of troll politics.

I felt like Ulla’s goal (finding her mom) kind of gets diluted with helping Eliana and her feelings toward Pan. That kind of made the level of action in the story feel flat at times rather than rising.

Despite that, I really liked the cast of characters. Ulla is great, of course. Her roommate, Dagny, an aloof, highly intelligent warrior-type, might be my favorite. Pan is sweet and funny.

Ulla’s search for her mom in a fragmented, politically volatile landscape makes for an interesting story, peppered with a variety of great characters. I think readers who enjoyed THE GOBLIN EMPEROR by Katherine Addison or HAVENFALL by Sara Holland will want to check out this book.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Ulla’s roommate is asexual. Most characters are trolls.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used very infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Some feelings of attraction between Pan and Ulla.

Spiritual Content
Some reference to troll and Norse folklore.

Violent Content
Assailants knock a girl unconscious.

Drug Content
Ulla drinks too much peach wine at a festival.

Note: I received a free copy of THE LOST CITY in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.

Mini Reviews: Never Never Part 1 and Reprieve

Never, Never (Part 1) by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher / Hoover Ink

I stumbled across this series of novellas on Amazon. Of the three parts, I’ve only read Part 1. It basically seems like a novel broken into three pieces. The whole series is available as a bundle for $2.99, which is a pretty great deal.

In terms of the story, it was definitely a wild ride. There’s a lot of romantic tension and some sexual content (main characters watch a video that includes a sex scene, thought it’s dark and only sounds are described) and brief violence. I was really hooked by the idea that both characters have lost their memories and are scrambling both to pretend they’ve got things under control/run their lives as if nothing’s wrong but also figure out what made them lose their memories. It’s clear something sinister happened, and we don’t know if our protags are good guys or bad guys. Will I read part 2? Possibly. I’m definitely curious about the story. Not curious enough to bump it ahead of the rest of my TBR list, though, so for now it’ll have to wait.

Inherit the Stars: Reprieve by Tessa Elwood/Running Press

After falling face-first in love with Inherit the Stars (read my review), I HAD to read this short story featuring Asa and her sister Wren (who is unconscious in Inherit the Stars.) I’ve read short stories by authors whose novels I love and been disappointed by the lack of structure (short fiction is not as easy as you think), but this was not the case with Elwood’s tale. The writing was powerful and the characters really moving. I loved having that chance to see Wren and Asa interact with one another, to have that real-time look at how their relationship worked. It only strengthened my understanding of Asa’s motives in Inherit the Stars. If you liked the novel, I recommend the short story. If you haven’t read the novel, check out the short story. It’s free, and you’ll get a really good feel for the narrative in the full-length novel. Update: I can’t seem to find a good link for the short story online. I think I got it on Amazon, but I don’t see it there now. Check out the Goodreads page and see if maybe it gets updated to show it posted somewhere else?