Review: Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard

Bera Troll

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by First Second
Source: Raincoast Books

Bera, The One-Headed Troll is a curious book that lingers in your mind long after you have read it. Bera, in case you didn’t realize it, is a rare one-headed troll (most have two) and is subject to a lot of slander from the hegemonic group, namely the trolls with two heads. She is the pumpkin gardener for the Troll King and lives on an island safely away from those who would jeer at her continuing one-headedness.

One day she finds a human baby floating (or being drowned, to be more accurate) in the waters near her island. She rescues the baby from the murderous mermaids and when she is paid a visit by a troll witch who wishes to use the baby for nefarious means (namely turning it into a weapon). Bera correctly surmises that it is best the baby be returned to its place amongst other humans so off she goes to find a hero who will achieve exactly that. However all the heroes she finds are either too corrupt or too infirm to see the baby back home and ultimately it is up to Bera to find the hero in herself and achieve what quickly seems to be unachievable.

There are monsters aplenty in this book and sometimes the line between friend and foe is finely drawn. I love how Bera never considers herself a hero even when she is precisely that. Also, her owl is pretty darn cute and makes for a fun sidekick. The art is to my liking…I wish there had been more colours in it but the brown and white (mostly shades of brown though) palette is amenable.

All in all, I found Bera’s journey to be a compelling one. Bera the One-Headed Troll will make a wonderful read either for an adult or for a child. Recommended.

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