Published by Wednesday Books on July 7, 2020
Series: The Omte Origins #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Source: eARC from Publisher
New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking returns to the magical world of the Trylle with The Lost City, the first book in the final Trylle arc.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’s 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.
The Lost City is a young adult fantasy and is the first book in the The Omte Origins series by Amanda Hocking. The Omte Origins series is set in the same world as Hocking’s Trylle trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. I read and really enjoyed the Trylle Trilogy years ago, back when I first started blogging, and I had every intention of continuing on with the Kanin Chronicles but my TBR was out of control and I never got around to them. When I saw the Lost City was coming out, set in the same world featuring a different creatures- the Omte, I knew this was the perfect opportunity for me to segway back into this world. This is a new series, and can be read without having read the others. Amanda Hocking does a great job explaining the world for new comers, so I never felt totally lost. And it reminded me of how much I enjoyed the world of Trylle. Now I want to do a re-read and go back to discover the Trylle Trilogy as well as read the Kanin Chronicles. (let me know in the comments if you would like to join me in a Trylle world readathon!)
In The Lost City, we meet Ulla who is abandoned as a baby in a city made up of Kanin inhabitants. Ulla sticks out like a sore thumb. I loved that the book started out with the story of how Ulla was found by the foster parents that raised her. That added a nice bit of context for the story. Soon though, she sets out to work at an internship at the Mimirin. Here Ulla comes to learn some secrets of her heritage that she was not expecting. I will say that while I enjoyed the plot of The Lost City, some parts felt a bit slow to me. There is a lot foundation building and setup happening, which made me really excited for the next installment, but also a little bored at times while reading. Overall though, I enjoyed the story and I loved Ulla. Ulla was my favorite character for sure. I loved how rational she was with her decisions and actions.
If you are a fan of young adult fantasies, set up in richly imaginative worlds, then the world of Trylle is one that you certainly will want to visit. I loved it in the original Trylle Trilogy, and The Lost City has the same imaginative flair that I have come to love and expect from Amanda Hocking’s books. I think the next book is going to be even better now that we have gotten the intro and set up out of the way. I am expecting more action in the next book because of that. This was a fun start to a series that I am very much looking forward to continuing when the next installment is released. Not to mention, it made me want to revisit Trylle and re-read/read the past series set in this world.
There’s been so much excitement and anticipation for more books in the world of the Trylle and Kanin. What made you decide to revisit those worlds now in The Omte Origins trilogy?
I knew as soon as I wrote Ulla as a small character in Crystal Kingdom (the final book of the Kanin Chronicles) that I was going to write a trilogy about her, but it was just a matter of when. After the Kanin Chronicles, I wanted to take a little break from that world and visit others – which I did with Freeks and the Valkyrie duology. By then, I was so ready to dive back into the world and answer some lingering questions I had left for the Trylle and Kanin.
Why make this the final trilogy?
With the Omte Origins, I feel like I’ve been able to say everything I want to about the worlds. Through the three trilogies, I spent time with all five tribes. Wendy’s mother is Trylle and her father is Vittra, and her story has her visiting both kingdoms. Bryn’s mother is Skojare and her father is Kanin, and her trilogy shows life in the Kanin and Skojare cities, as well as travelling to others beyond that. I won’t say who exactly Ulla’s parents are (that would be spoiling the story) but her journey takes her through the troll kingdoms, with interesting detours through the Omte, Trylle, and Kanin tribes.
What are the most challenging aspects of writing a new trilogy that can be read independently, but is set in a world–the Trylle and Kanin–that you’ve written about before?
The hardest challenge is getting new readers caught up with the world and the lingo without feeling repetitive and boring to longtime fans of the series. I try use this an opportunity to show characters and situations from different angles. The Wendy the audience meets at the beginning of Switched is vastly different Wendy than the that Ulla knows in the Omte Origins. So for new readers, they get introduced Wendy as she currently is, and for repeat readers, they can see who Wendy has become and who she appears to be through the eyes of an average citizen with Ulla.
What’s the most fascinating thing you researched while writing The Lost City?
With the Omte Origins, I really looked back at the course of troll history, and their past has dovetailed with the Vikings and other artic peoples. So I did a lot research on early Vikings and indigenous arctic people, primarily the Inuit and the Sami. My favorite parts were reading their folklore. I even got an Inuit cookbook, and I attempted to make Bannock (a traditional Inuit bread). It did not turn out well, but I blame that entirely on my cooking skills (or lack thereof) and not the recipe.
The “Glossary” and “Tribal Facts” sections at the end of the book are fascinating and really help create a layered, fleshed out world. Was putting those together as much fun as writing the novel?
It was so much fun. It’s been over ten years and nine books (and several short stories), so I have spent a lot time of thinking and doing world-building. I honestly have enough information for a history book about the worlds of the Trylle, but I don’t know there’s a demand for fictional textbooks. The Tribal Facts were actually one of the first things I wrote for the Omte series, because I went through and get myself reacquainted and made sure I had all my important facts straight.
Was your writing routine affected by the stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic?
My routine itself hasn’t been too affected, since I write from home, but I would say that the stress has a negative impact on me, the way it has for many of us that work in creative fields – or any field at all, honestly. My husband has been working from home, and my stepson had been doing long distance learning before summer break, but that hasn’t really changed too much for me. I usually work after they go to bed and stay up late into the early morning hours.
Were there any favorite songs or music you listened to while writing this book?
Yes, definitely! I listen to so much music when I write, and I even have curated playlists to go along with my books on Spotify. open.spotify.com/user/127756215 Some of my favorite songs to write to were “Ella” by Myrkur, “Wild World” by Cat Stevens, and “Delicate” by Taylor Swift. I also listened to a lot of Wardruna, who are this Norwegian band who make traditional Nordic music with historically accurate instruments. For the soundtrack to the Omte Origins, I wanted it be a blend of traditional Nordic music, mellow seventies folk to go with the trolls delayed pop culture tastes, and pop music that gets through with the trendier younger generations of trolls.
Do you think the music you listen to has an influence on the stories? Or do the stories influence the music you choose?
I think it’s both, honestly. When I’m picking songs for the playlist, I definitely choose them based on the kind of emotions I want to feel and the tone I want to set for whatever I’m writing. Sometimes I’ll put particularly romantic songs on repeat when writing a love scene or an angry fast-paced instrumental for a fight scene.
What books or authors are you reading or excited to read lately?
I’m super excited about Faith: Taking Flight by Julie Murphy. It comes out the same day as The Lost City, and it’s about a plus-size teenage girl who discovers that she can fly. I recently read A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Rosanne Brown, and I’m counting down the days until The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna and The Project by Courtney Summers.
Any hints you can share about what’s coming next after The Omte Origins Trilogy?
I’m currently working on a stand-alone fantasy inspired by Greek mythology, but I don’t know when it will be out yet. I’ve got ideas for dozens of projects after that, and I’m working hard (and having fun) getting through them all.
Let me know in the comments if you would like to join me in a Trylle world readathon!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 New Release Challenge
- Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2020