The Morning Flower is the next book in the YA fantasy Omte Origins series by Amanda Hocking. It is her third and final trilogy set in the troll-centric world of the Trylle. Wednesday Books sent me an ARC (thank you!), so quite pleased to read and review before the release.
TMF will be available on August 4, 2020.
The first book, The Lost City, came out on July 7, 2020. So if you haven’t read that one yet, be sure to check it out. It provides far more historical details and a bit of lore about this secret world of trolls.
Each of Hocking’s trilogies follows characters who have some connection to the specific tribes. The Trylle trilogy centers on the Trylle and Vittra. Kanin Chronicles focuses on Kanin and Skojare. Finally, Omte Origins is about the Omte and the álfar, legendary trolls who inhabited the seemingly mythological kingdom of Alfheim. There are cameos of the different main characters throughout each series, which also makes them fun to read.
If you’re new to these series by Hocking, I do not recommend starting with The Lost City—you’re given loads of information about the viking/Nordic-inspired history, and there are all kinds of special terms to describe different things, which can make the content a bit dense at first. Start with the Trylle trilogy to help ease you into the world.
Now, before I jump into The Morning Flower, let me provide an overview of what happened in the first book. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the first installment. Consider yourself warned!
The Lost City recap
The Lost City is about orphan Ulla Tulin and her journey to find out who her biological parents are. An unknown woman abandoned her at a Kanin inn when Ulla was just a few days old, right smack dab in the middle of a winter storm. Because of her size and brute strength and some asymmetries with her anatomical makeup, she suspects she is part Omte troll. The elderly couple that owns the inn raises her until she’s older. Then she joins the Holmes household to be their live-in nanny.
After years of nannying, Ulla lands a coveted paid internship at Mimirin, and goes off to live in Merellä for the next few months. There, she meets a troll of mixed blood (TOMB) named Pan who also works at Mimirin and is on a similar journey of uncovering his heritage.
As it goes, there are a few hiccups with Ulla’s move to Merellä. She finds herself involved with a mysterious troll named Eliana who suffers from some kind of amnesia and seems to be running from something.
Eliana and Ulla both have their blood drawn for DNA testing, which yields some mystery in Ulla’s genetic makeup while no one has ever seen anything like Eliana’s before.
A couple of mysterious trolls show up, Sumi and Jem-Kruk, who claim to be helping Eliana—to bring her back home. And by the end of The Lost City, they kidnap Eliana. Ulla, Pan, and others take it upon themselves to find out what happened to her. They don’t realize Eliana’s identity is very closely tied to Ulla’s.
The first book ends with Ulla and Pan hitting the road, hot on a lead as they seek to find out what happened to Eliana.
The Morning Flower summary (spoilers!)
The Morning Flower by Amanda Hocking picks up with Ulla and Pan on the road in pursuit of what happened to Eliana. After arriving in Fulaträsk, Louisiana (the capital city of the Omte tribe), they set about gathering clues surrounding Orra Fågel and Eliana’s whereabouts. Both seem connected to the first troll city, but how exactly, they do not know.
Since she believes Orra might be her mother, Ulla eventually gains a meeting with the Omte queen where she hopes to learn more about Orra and the legendary álfar, who Jem-Kruk claims to be.
It is during her stay just outside of Fulaträsk that Ulla learns of a man named Indu Mattison. She suspects he may be her father. Indu believes he’s a guardian of the Lost Bridge to Alfheim and apparently his duty is to impregnate troll women. Though it isn’t clear what the purpose of these children are.
After a seemingly fruitless trip to Fulaträsk, Ulla and Pan are called back to Merellä. Jem-Kruk appears and pays a visit to Ulla, assuring her that Eliana is okay before disappearing again. Meanwhile, Ulla, Dagny, Pan, and Elof get another lead. Sweden. They travel there in hopes that they’ll meet Indu Mattison and find the lost troll city. And hopefully Eliana.
In Sweden, Ulla meets her father Indu who tells her the names of her other sisters. (Major bombshell: Bryn Aven from the other Trylle books is Ulla’s half-sister!) Indu agrees to show Ulla and the others the hidden city. It isn’t what they expect. It’s almost cult-like, where women and men are segregated, and the women are warriors of sorts. They don’t bother hiding their dislike of Ulla.
In fact, they see her as inferior.
The Morning Flower ending
After a freak accident involving Pan during the first night there, Ulla stumbles upon a bracelet she gave Eliana, proving Eliana was there (contrary to what Indu and all the others claim), and she sets out to do some investigating. Alone.
You guessed it: bad things happen.
Ulla discovers a waterfall, which she believes to be some kind of secret entrance to where Illaria is keeping Eliana. But before she can investigate further, Illaria takes her by surprise and captures her.
Ulla, Pan, Dagny, and Elof are then imprisoned. The álfar guardians plan to kick them out of the city, but the catch is their memories will be wiped so that they cannot return. In a Memento-like fashion, Ulla and the others quickly jot down notes and hope the written reminders are enough to help them once they’re freed.
As is her style, Hocking leaves us with that cliffhanger.
Book review: The Morning Flower by Amanda Hocking (Omte Origins #2)
I gave The Morning Flower by Amanda Hocking five stars on Goodreads. It was even better than The Lost City. Hocking addressed the only two issues I had while reading the first book. Namely, I thought Ulla’s plus-sizing wasn’t mentioned enough. And I craved more romance than what TLC offered.
Happy to say both items seemed more developed in this second book. I was able to visualize Ulla and all her plus-sized awesomeness more clearly, and Hocking gave a good dose of romantic intrigue between Ulla and Pan (throwing in a bit of tension with Pan’s ex, Rikky). There’s also still the matter of Jem-Kruk as a potential love interest. Though he seems much, much older than Ulla—his intentions murky, at best—Ulla definitely feels an attraction toward him.
All in all, it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out in the final book, The Ever After. Which is slated for release on January 5, 2021.
If you’re interested in reading these books, I’ve provided Amazon links below! Happy reading.