ARC Review: The Lost City

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BLURB

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 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.

|CW: aphobia |

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1 star

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The Lost City is an urban fantasy which follows our MC, Ulla Tulin, a troll of mixed ancestry who was abandoned as a child and goes on to try her parents and her ancestry at a prestigious institute with a special program for trolls like her.
I don’t have much to say about this book so I’ll just go on. The Lost City was a pretty easy read. Kind of a light fantasy, but not really engrossing, which I think was my issue with it.
The Lost City started as a book about Ulla finding her parents and trying to make sense of her place in her world, which I actually liked, but later it became more about finding about the origins of the mysterious Illaria, some troll-like girl with bright hair who literally fell out of the sky. I didn’t care for this part of the plot, the entire thing felt too idealistic for me. I, a wholeass Nigerian, found taking in someone you don’t know, and who seems strange, very unbelievable even for a fantasy novel.
Now to the things that I didn’t particularly like about this book. While the topic of gatekeeping who writes queer books and non own voices writers writing queer books is rightfully complicated because not everyone has the privilege to be out, I would love for authors who do not identify with an identity whether quietly or loudly to please do their research.
The Lost City has a character that’s supposed to be asexual and this character is a just a bag of stereotypes. She’s cold and seemingly uncaring, a stereotype used to demonise aspec folks and she says and I quote “I’m an ace, so I don’t date”. Although the character does say that for different people it can mean different things, she goes on to say that for her it means she’s never been attracted to anyone at all (type of attraction not specified) and she doesn’t feel the urge to be with anyone romantically.
It really does irritate me how the author conflates sexual and romantic attraction together. Is your character also aromantic? Then state it. Writing it so vaguely gives the impression of conflating both together and erases non-aromantic asexuals and feels like just inserting an ace character for the sake of being able to say you added one. And the language “I’m an ace”, it comes off offensive and has the same energy as “I am a gay”, with the addition of I don’t date in the manner it was written makes it seem like all asexuals don’t date and is very invalidating to ace folks who do.
This misrepresentation wasn’t my only issue with this book. I felt like the story did nothing to resolve some of the plot questions, and left too many things unanswered to be properly wrapped up, while I understand they’ll be a sequel, it still felt empty.
The Lost City also didn’t feel very engaging and it was very lite and superficial like diluted regular fantasy.
I guess in total, I do not recommend it. The misrepresentation left a bitter taste in my mouth and the failure of the book to properly engage and engross me didn’t help at all.

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What book with good ace rep have you read lately? I need something to ease me of my anger and displeasure at this book.


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5 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Lost City

  1. Wow, I’m angry just reading this review–this book is immediately going into the “dear god never read this” pile. As someone who is ace, I’m always looking for more ace rep, and this book sounds just awful.

    For a better option, I thought the rep was handled very well in Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland! The main character is actually demi-biromantic ace, and has an ace romantic interest as well. Super cool book.

    Liked by 1 person

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