The Secret History of Trollkind is a graphic novel based on the Trollhunters Netflix series developed by Guillermo del Toro. It is mostly set prior to the TV series and it explores how some of the troll characters first met and some of the experiences that shaped their personalities and convictions.
It begins during a training session that is not going well for Trollhunter Jim Lake Jr. Blinky attempts to boost Jim’s confidence with an inspirational recitation of troll-lore. The tale begins at the end of the Great Battle of Killahead Bridge where Gunmar and the Gumm-Gumms are banished to the Darklands by the then Trollhunter, Deya the Deliverer.
Blinky’s tale briefly covers the dismantling of the Killahead Bridge, a truce between Trollkind and humans, and the journey Trollkind takes to a new land in search of a new Heartstone. This journey coincides with the Mayflower leaving Plymouth for the New World with the trolls stowing away onboard.
As the trolls attempt to board the ship, they are attacked by Bular (son of Gunmar) and Deya is killed and turned to stone. The amulet selects a new Trollhunter, Kanjigar, and Kanjigar leads the Trolls on a long arduous journey from Plymouth Rock to California, during which he has to keep the Trolls in order to stop them attacking and eating humans, and also to keep them going to where the amulet is leading them.
The book concludes with a climactic battle between four enormous Mountain Trolls where Kanjigar, Draal, and Aaarrrgghh!! are prepared to sacrifice their lives to save their brethren before Trollkind ends up at what will become Arcadia Oaks and find a new Heartstone that will replenish their diminishing energy.
The art in The Secret History of Trollkind is beautifully drawn and colored by Timothy Green and Wes Dzioba. The characters are accurate to how we know them from the Trollhunters TV show while the story provides additional history and lore for fans.
Written by the Trollhunters executive producer and writer Marc Guggenheim, and Richard Hamilton who created the How to Train Your Dragon graphic novel, the creative team make this book fit perfectly into the existing Trollhunters canon. The story did feel slightly rushed as if the writers wanted to cram more story into the pages than they really had room for, although I personally always find that preferable to slow-moving, dull books.
It is worth noting that the violence in the book is significantly more graphic and intense than is seen on the TV show, placing it closer in tone to the Trollhunters YA novel than the animated show. In one panel, a troll is seen plunging a sword through the head of another with resulting blood splatter and in another, a troll cuts a hole through the stomach of a mountain roll, launching himself through it to emerge out of the top of the mountain troll’s head. That being said, my sensitive eight-year-old read the book with his dad and didn’t find any of the violence upsetting.
The Secret History of Trollkind is a beautiful book that fans of Trollhunters will love. It expands the universe and adds depth to its characters and places. Pick it up if you and your family already watch the show, or if you’re hunting for a borderline scary middle-grade romp.
GeekMom received this book for review purposes.