Review of The Lost City by Amanda Hocking

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.

Firstly a big thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book for review. Going in I thought that I might struggle having never read anything previously by this author and her Trylle trilogy, but there’s plenty there for a newcomer. From the cover I was expecting a YA high fantasy, but it was a quirky hybrid between both high and low with the fantastical Mimirin, with its magical creatures and spells contrasting with the use of electronic devices and pop culture TV and music. At first I found that a little jarring, but actually I grew to really like those little moments. I also want to mention that the cover has a great body positive representation of Ulla which is fantastic!

The Lost City is a book full of fun and genuinely likeable characters, I instantly warmed to Ulla although I was saddened by a passage where she starting listing her perceived physical faults which felt endless. She was down to earth and easy to read, her character wasn’t reckless and I liked how she didn’t fall into many of the established tropes she could have done. Her wonderful sense of caring really shone through and I found her really refreshing as a YA protagonist. Dagny I think is my favourite, she has quite the little character arc going on and I feel that she will be a great ally in future books.

The books main focus is within the Mimirin itself and I wish we had got to know more about it, whilst Hocking has a wonderfully descriptive writing style, it felt a very character driven piece with the focus on Ulla’s search rather than the world around her. The introduction of Eliana broke up Ulla’s search in the archives well and added that much needed additional dimension to keep the story flowing, albeit slowly. It’s a very breadcrumb start and for me took a while to really get going, granted lots of foundations are laid and there is a lot of information and character introduction, however, things had just started to get really interesting and I turned the page to find the end.  The last 10% was so good, with a lot of twists and some much needed action that really drove the story forward and gave it greater purpose and upped the star rating a little from me.  Whilst frustrating this last section was enough to make me intrigued enough to carry on with the series, I just felt disappointed at the abrupt end. I did however have a sneeky peek at the cover and blurb for book 2 and it’s looking good!

One thing that I really enjoyed was the section after the story had concluded which outlined the different tribes and a brief history, this was likely the bulk of what happened in previous books and I was glad to have it, it would have been nice for it to have been at the start though as I would have felt more comfortable with the world and then the story itself could have perhaps been just a little more focused.

Overall though it’s great little read that flowed nicely, with endearing characters and some Ace rep. The minor romance element is mainly feelings based and would be perfect for a teen reader to the younger end of the YA market.

3.5

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