Petronella and the Trogot by Cheryl Bentley Review

Summary from Goodreads :

‘Petronella moves to a cottage in a seemingly ideal village. But she soon comes into contact with its weird inhabitants, a tree-monster that appears in her garden, gets spooky night-time visits from a hooded horseman, and finds a boy-ghost in her house. How do creepy ghosts and scary monsters fit in with the invasion of spirits all over Fort Willow?’

Paperback, 192 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2012 by Sparkling Books
ISBN13: 781907230455
Edition language: English
*This book was sent to me by Sparkling Books & Netgalley. I always review books honestly.
Petronella, a woman who is described as ugly, moves into a village, Fort Willow. But all is not well – Strincas, the villages inhabitants from thousands of years ago are waking up and moving in to the village and a hooded horseman tells Petronella she is the chosen one, the one that will rescue his people from the Trogot, a large tree in her garden that leads into a sort of hell/eternal punishment. Petronella, and a Strincas boy Percy have to navigate their way through the Trogot to save the Strincas.
Petronella (great name) is the main character, and I really didn’t warm to her. She is portrayed as being bullied and avoided all her life because of her looks, which is awful, but I feel she was probably avoided because of her personality! At points she seems very rude and judgemental of other people and their behaviour, and yet at some points reading this book I felt like shaking her and saying ‘what are you doing?!’. At one point she asks someone to marry her when she doesn’t even know them and is surprised when they say no! We never know how old Petronella is but to me she seems very naive and childlike. Although I didn’t really get on with her though, I have to say her heart is in the right place with trying to help the Strincas.
The first half of the book was very confusing. Not much happened, apart from the discovery of bones in the village and the Strinca’s waking up. This, in another book, would be quite a lot happening but for some reason that dramatic pull that you want in a novel just wasn’t there. Another thing that really got me confused was that when the Strincas woke up and moved into their old homes (from 1000 years ago) some of the townspeople were angry, but some even welcomed them. I felt that this was a bit strange, as they didn’t seem shocked in the slightest that these ghosts were back alive! The Strincas themselves really didn’t seem realistic. They talked in a sort of old fashioned way, but apart from that they were all very 2D characters – there was very little development.
However, I did enjoy Part 2 of the book a little better. It was soon revealed that the Strincas were brutally murdered by the Lord of the Manor when a thief hit his wifes head. The hooded horseman gives Petronella a device that is able to control the Strincas and a black box that will save her but only seven times. He also tells her she is the chosen one. Now we come to the titilar Trogot, the massive black tree in Petronella’s garden, which is a gate to hell. Petronella and Percy (a strincas boy that used to live in Petronella’s house) venture into the Trogot to look for Percy’s parents, who have being trapped there.
I have to say, the Trogot journey was my favourite bit of the book. The ideas of punishment and the way that Cheryl Bentley presented the punishment and the guardians were very interesting ideas – I just wish they were a little more developed. The journey through the Trogot felt rushed, and I wish that Petronella could have stayed a little longer in each place. I feel that if the book had focused more soley on the Trogot and not gone off on tangents, I would have enjoyed it more. However, I really didn’t like the black box which felt like a plot device and saved Petronella every time she was in any danger.
Petronella and the Trogot is described as a ‘supernatural chiller’ but I wasn’t chilled or scared at all whilst reading it. That being said, it did have its good points and I did find myself chuckling at some of the funnier lines. I would like to thank NetGalley, Sparkling Books and Cheryl Bentley for letting me read this book.
Laura 🙂

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