KINDRED SPIRITS + THE PRINCE AND THE TROLL by Rainbow Rowell

46 rainbow rowellHey so speaking of — did you know Rainbow Rowell once wrote a Star Wars story? Well, Star Wars-adjacent, at any rate. For World Book Day a couple of years ago she came out with a short little story about a group of fans waiting in line for the premiere of The Force Awakens. I read it a short while after the story came out and, like a lot of Rowell’s work, I pretty much loved it. Here’s a short review from an old blog:⠀

I love Rainbow Rowell. I love her quirky and clever and passionate writing (if there was a book equivalent to Gilmore Girls, it would be a Rowell book). I love her amazing and uncanny ability to make you fall for a character in almost no time at all.

This same talent is brilliantly showcased in Kindred Spirits, a slim novella that, over the course of sixty-two pages, manages to have more character development than most sprawling, brick-sized novels.

It’s an unfair gift, really.

This is a story about three Star Wars geeks camping out in desolate line in front of an Omaha theater for the premiere of The Force Awakens. It is lovely, and it is charming, and it is so wonderful. I finished the story in one sitting, desperately wishing there was a full-length novel featuring these characters that I could immediately pick up. Heartwarming and beautiful.

Like every December since the first film in the sequel trilogy came out, Star Wars has been on my mind a lot, which is why I decided to revisit the slim volume. I enjoyed it just as much this time around, appreciating especially how it captures the eager, edgy excitement a lot of fans of the saga felt in the run-up of the release of TFA. You know, before the dark times. Before the Discourse. This does tragically make the story act somewhat like a time capsule, however, portraying as it does a facet of fandom that seems quaint and innocent considering the meaningless gatekeeping and toxic rhetoric that is so maddeningly prevalent these days. Alas. ⠀

You and I can still enjoy things, though. It’ll be our secret. ⠀

○○○⠀

Shortly after finishing the novella, I was made aware of a series of fairy tale retellings a bunch of prominent authors were doing for the Amazon Original Stories initiative. Rowell was one of these writers, contributing The Prince and the Troll, an odd little tale that doesn’t seem to be an interpretation of any one fable in particular but instead plays with the troll-under-the-bridge narrative. The story seems to be a blend of Rowell’s realistic contemporary style and the dark whimsy found in her fantasy fiction. This makes it a bit disjointed but it works for the most part. The aforementioned gift is once more in full display here as I also finished this peculiar yarn wanting to know more about the two protagonists, and about the world in specific, which appears to be a sort of post-climate apocalypse mythical land (that, you know, still has Starbucks). Also because once I read that title I just knew Rowell would make them fall in love with each other and that I would buy it hook, line, sinker — and, reader, I did.

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