Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Shapeshifters by Stefan Spjut

In Sweden, there are rumors and legends of "Stallo" sightings.  Susso's father even took a picture of one.  She's fascinated by them and wants to learn who they are, how they got that way, where they live, and more.  When she finds a case where a boy was stolen by giant, she thinks that the Stallo (or troll) has been the kidnapper.  Now she wants to find out why...

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Mariner Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It was published July 7th, so you can pick up a copy now.  

When Susso starts a website sharing her thoughts and beliefs, she find that other people have seen them and she gets a call from a worried grandmother.  There's a small man that looks in her window and tries to lure her grandson away.  Susso puts up a camera to see if she can see the man who is almost gnome size, but the woman's son destroys it.  He just wants her to go away.  When his son is taken, he has a change of heart, but it's too late.

The trolls are shapeshifters.  The gnome-like man can become a fox.  There are squirrels, hares, weasels, wolves and bears that are trolls.  The bears are the giants people have seen.  Those who provide housing and food for them protect them.  They also understand the danger.  They just want people to leave them alone.  The problem is that the trolls get out of control if they don't have a child around.  They don't harm them.  They calm down and become easier to control.  If no one in the protecting families has a child, they steal one...

These creatures are part of Swedish mythology and I had not heard of them before.  They have special powers; some are good and some are bad; and all they want is space to live and not so many neighbors.  Sounds like most wild animals.  I found them to be a bit creepy.

This is an interesting tale with an original kidnapping twenty five years earlier tying to the current one.  Sussa persists in finding the truth but it changes her.  I'm not sure I would have held up as well as she does...


No comments: