Troll or Derby: A Book Review

It’s easy to weary of the traditional fae in literature.  They’re gorgeous, ephemeral little things with delicate wings.  While such ethereality can be charming in small doses, I would prefer fae with more bite.  A little more teeth.  And a lot more rock and roll.

Then Red Tash’s Troll or Derby came blowing through the doors and my prayers were answered.  Enter Roller Deb, a normal (?) girl with a fierce love for skating.  We’re introduced to 15-year-old Deb when she’s trying to rush into a flaming trailer to save her drugged-out beauty pageant sister.  If this scenario doesn’t give you a taste of the delightful quirk that you’ll find in Troll or Derby, I don’t know what does.  Deb is picked on by her white trash mother and her redneck jock schoolmates.  The only place she truly belongs is on the rink. We meet skating coaches with tusks, a troll who smells of sunshine, and fae doing roller derby.

That’s right.  Fairies on skates.  They’re not doing cute little figure eights in dreamy skirts, either.  They’re tearing up the track in a roller derby bout that makes the blood run cold.  Oh, and blood?   Lots of it.  Wings rip off, limbs go flying, and heads literally roll.

Tash does a fantastic job of turning every otherworldly stereotype on their head. Deb lives in a world of Skater Boi Leprechauns and fairy glamour. Tash’s writing is also smart and funny.  I nearly choked on my Coke when I reached the line describing an Amish buggy colliding with a bunch of school kids on a hayride.  She said, “Blood and flannel and black hats were everywhere.” I nearly felt guilty laughing.

This book has it all.  Prophecies.  Destinies.  Royalty, trust, revenge. Sex, drugs,  and rock and roll are doused in humor and lit ablaze with quirky snark.   I blew through this book incredibly fast because I couldn’t put it down.  If you want a solid, fun read, then pick up Red Tash’s Troll or Derby.