KINDRED SPIRITS + THE PRINCE AND THE TROLL by Rainbow Rowell

46 rainbow rowellHey so speaking of โ€” 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 ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด. I read it a short while after the story came out and, like a lot of Rowellโ€™s work, I pretty much loved it. Hereโ€™s a short review from an old blog:โ €
โ €
๐™ธ ๐š•๐š˜๐šŸ๐šŽ ๐š๐šŠ๐š’๐š—๐š‹๐š˜๐š  ๐š๐š˜๐š ๐šŽ๐š•๐š•. ๐™ธ ๐š•๐š˜๐šŸ๐šŽ ๐š‘๐šŽ๐š› ๐šš๐šž๐š’๐š›๐š”๐šข ๐šŠ๐š—๐š ๐šŒ๐š•๐šŽ๐šŸ๐šŽ๐š› ๐šŠ๐š—๐š ๐š™๐šŠ๐šœ๐šœ๐š’๐š˜๐š—๐šŠ๐š๐šŽ ๐š ๐š›๐š’๐š๐š’๐š—๐š (๐š’๐š ๐š๐š‘๐šŽ๐š›๐šŽ ๐š ๐šŠ๐šœ ๐šŠ ๐š‹๐š˜๐š˜๐š” ๐šŽ๐šš๐šž๐š’๐šŸ๐šŠ๐š•๐šŽ๐š—๐š ๐š๐š˜ ๐˜Ž๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜Ž๐˜ช๐˜ณ๐˜ญ๐˜ด, ๐š’๐š ๐š ๐š˜๐šž๐š•๐š ๐š‹๐šŽ ๐šŠ ๐š๐š˜๐š ๐šŽ๐š•๐š• ๐š‹๐š˜๐š˜๐š”). ๐™ธ ๐š•๐š˜๐šŸ๐šŽ ๐š‘๐šŽ๐š› ๐šŠ๐š–๐šŠ๐šฃ๐š’๐š—๐š ๐šŠ๐š—๐š ๐šž๐š—๐šŒ๐šŠ๐š—๐š—๐šข ๐šŠ๐š‹๐š’๐š•๐š’๐š๐šข ๐š๐š˜ ๐š–๐šŠ๐š”๐šŽ ๐šข๐š˜๐šž ๐š๐šŠ๐š•๐š• ๐š๐š˜๐š› ๐šŠ ๐šŒ๐š‘๐šŠ๐š›๐šŠ๐šŒ๐š๐šŽ๐š› ๐š’๐š— ๐šŠ๐š•๐š–๐š˜๐šœ๐š ๐š—๐š˜ ๐š๐š’๐š–๐šŽ ๐šŠ๐š ๐šŠ๐š•๐š•.โ €
โ €
๐šƒ๐š‘๐š’๐šœ ๐šœ๐šŠ๐š–๐šŽ ๐š๐šŠ๐š•๐šŽ๐š—๐š ๐š’๐šœ ๐š‹๐š›๐š’๐š•๐š•๐š’๐šŠ๐š—๐š๐š•๐šข ๐šœ๐š‘๐š˜๐š ๐šŒ๐šŠ๐šœ๐šŽ๐š ๐š’๐š— ๐‘ฒ๐’Š๐’๐’…๐’“๐’†๐’… ๐‘บ๐’‘๐’Š๐’“๐’Š๐’•๐’”, ๐šŠ ๐š—๐š˜๐šŸ๐šŽ๐š•๐š•๐šŠ ๐š๐š‘๐šŠ๐š, ๐š˜๐šŸ๐šŽ๐š› ๐š๐š‘๐šŽ ๐šŒ๐š˜๐šž๐š›๐šœ๐šŽ ๐š˜๐š ๐šœ๐š’๐šก๐š๐šข-๐š๐š ๐š˜ ๐š™๐šŠ๐š๐šŽ๐šœ, ๐š–๐šŠ๐š—๐šŠ๐š๐šŽ๐šœ ๐š๐š˜ ๐š‘๐šŠ๐šŸ๐šŽ ๐š–๐š˜๐š›๐šŽ ๐šŒ๐š‘๐šŠ๐š›๐šŠ๐šŒ๐š๐šŽ๐š› ๐š๐šŽ๐šŸ๐šŽ๐š•๐š˜๐š™๐š–๐šŽ๐š—๐š ๐š๐š‘๐šŠ๐š— ๐š–๐š˜๐šœ๐š ๐šœ๐š™๐š›๐šŠ๐š ๐š•๐š’๐š—๐š, ๐š‹๐š›๐š’๐šŒ๐š”-๐šœ๐š’๐šฃ๐šŽ๐š ๐š—๐š˜๐šŸ๐šŽ๐š•๐šœ. ๐™ธ๐šโ€™๐šœ ๐šŠ๐š— ๐šž๐š—๐š๐šŠ๐š’๐š› ๐š๐š’๐š๐š, ๐š›๐šŽ๐šŠ๐š•๐š•๐šข.โ €
โ €
๐šƒ๐š‘๐š’๐šœ ๐š’๐šœ ๐šŠ ๐šœ๐š๐š˜๐š›๐šข ๐šŠ๐š‹๐š˜๐šž๐š ๐š๐š‘๐š›๐šŽ๐šŽ ๐š‚๐š๐šŠ๐š› ๐š†๐šŠ๐š›๐šœ ๐š๐šŽ๐šŽ๐š”๐šœ ๐šŒ๐šŠ๐š–๐š™๐š’๐š—๐š ๐š˜๐šž๐š ๐š’๐š— ๐šŠ ๐š๐šŽ๐šœ๐š˜๐š•๐šŠ๐š๐šŽ ๐š•๐š’๐š—๐šŽ ๐š’๐š— ๐š๐š›๐š˜๐š—๐š ๐š˜๐š ๐šŠ๐š— ๐™พ๐š–๐šŠ๐š‘๐šŠ ๐š๐š‘๐šŽ๐šŠ๐š๐šŽ๐š› ๐š๐š˜๐š› ๐š๐š‘๐šŽ ๐š™๐š›๐šŽ๐š–๐š’๐šŽ๐š›๐šŽ ๐š˜๐š ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด. ๐™ธ๐š ๐š’๐šœ ๐š•๐š˜๐šŸ๐šŽ๐š•๐šข, ๐šŠ๐š—๐š ๐š’๐š ๐š’๐šœ ๐šŒ๐š‘๐šŠ๐š›๐š–๐š’๐š—๐š, ๐šŠ๐š—๐š ๐š’๐š ๐š’๐šœ ๐šœ๐š˜ ๐š ๐š˜๐š—๐š๐šŽ๐š›๐š๐šž๐š•. ๐™ธ ๐š๐š’๐š—๐š’๐šœ๐š‘๐šŽ๐š ๐š๐š‘๐šŽ ๐šœ๐š๐š˜๐š›๐šข ๐š’๐š— ๐š˜๐š—๐šŽ ๐šœ๐š’๐š๐š๐š’๐š—๐š, ๐š๐šŽ๐šœ๐š™๐šŽ๐š›๐šŠ๐š๐šŽ๐š•๐šข ๐š ๐š’๐šœ๐š‘๐š’๐š—๐š ๐š๐š‘๐šŽ๐š›๐šŽ ๐š ๐šŠ๐šœ ๐šŠ ๐š๐šž๐š•๐š•-๐š•๐šŽ๐š—๐š๐š๐š‘ ๐š—๐š˜๐šŸ๐šŽ๐š• ๐š๐šŽ๐šŠ๐š๐šž๐š›๐š’๐š—๐š ๐š๐š‘๐šŽ๐šœ๐šŽ ๐šŒ๐š‘๐šŠ๐š›๐šŠ๐šŒ๐š๐šŽ๐š›๐šœ ๐š๐š‘๐šŠ๐š ๐™ธ ๐šŒ๐š˜๐šž๐š•๐š ๐š’๐š–๐š–๐šŽ๐š๐š’๐šŠ๐š๐šŽ๐š•๐šข ๐š™๐š’๐šŒ๐š” ๐šž๐š™. ๐™ท๐šŽ๐šŠ๐š›๐š๐š ๐šŠ๐š›๐š–๐š’๐š—๐š ๐šŠ๐š—๐š ๐š‹๐šŽ๐šŠ๐šž๐š๐š’๐š๐šž๐š•.โ €
โ €
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 ๐˜‹๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ. 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. โ €
โ €
You and I can still enjoy things, though. Itโ€™ll be our secret. โ €
โ €
โ€”โ €
โ €
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 ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐‘ท๐’“๐’Š๐’๐’„๐’† ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐‘ป๐’“๐’๐’๐’, an odd little tale that doesnโ€™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 Rowellโ€™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 ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ Rowell would make them fall in love with each other and that I would buy it hook, line, sinker โ€” and, reader, I ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ.