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Faraway Collection #1

The Prince and the Troll

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A charming everyman and a mysterious something-under-the-bridge cross paths in a short fairy tale by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and the Simon Snow series.

It’s fate when a man accidentally drops his phone off the bridge. It’s fortune when it’s retrieved by a friendly shape sloshing in the muck underneath. From that day forward, as they share a coffee every morning, an unlikely friendship blooms. Considering the reality for the man above, where life seems perfect, and that of the sharp-witted creature below, how forever after can a happy ending be?

26 pages, Kindle Edition

First published December 15, 2020

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About the author

Rainbow Rowell

99 books139k followers
Rainbow Rowell writes all kinds of stuff.

Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS, LANDLINE).

Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANOR & PARK, FANGIRL) .

Sometimes — actually, a lot of the time — she writes about lovesick vampires and guys with dragon wings. (THE SIMON SNOW TRILOGY).

Recently, she’s been writing comics, including her first graphic novel, PUMPKINHEADS, and the monthly SHE-HULK comic for Marvel.

She lives in Omaha, Nebraska.

More at rainbowrowell.com.

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5 stars
1,531 (16%)
4 stars
2,293 (24%)
3 stars
3,226 (35%)
2 stars
1,465 (15%)
1 star
660 (7%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,176 reviews
Profile Image for Ryan - Sweet Red Reader .
1,343 reviews79 followers
December 16, 2020
On the one hand I want to say “what the hell was that?” But on the other hand it was sort of beautiful and poignant and topical and deep and meaningful in a really clever way. I feel like I need an answer key or legend or translator so I know exactly what everything meant/symbolizes because I KNOW every single thing stood for something. I also simultaneously want Starbucks and also want to burn them all to the ground... or wash them away with a great flood. And I want to give Adam a hug. What did I just read/listen to?!?! 4 out of 5 wine glasses.
Profile Image for Clara Klillena.
158 reviews19 followers
December 15, 2020
I was expecting a story about a rich guy falling in love with a homeless girl, but it's definitely not what this is about. It's more a critique of society and of climate change.
Adam seems to live a perfect life, protected from everything that is bad and always with a Starbucks near him (that part seems to be important). But when he meets the girl (or troll, I was actually confused for a while wether this was a realistic story but I guess it's not) he starts realizing all the bad aspects of life on the road: the crows that always watch you and the tragedies that could be avoided.
I think my favorite part was when she says that the road is going to destroy everything and he replies by saying that it won't happen now. That really is the mindset of people nowadays.
So, I liked the story because it really makes you reflect on society, but I think it was a bit too metaphoric for me. Especially, in the end with the rain washing everything away, I was a bit confused. Did that mean that the consequences of climate change were happening to the road?
Profile Image for Eugenia.
1,560 reviews229 followers
December 19, 2020
Um....It’s a fairy latte?

I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t get it.
I thought I got it.
But I was wrong.
I think.

A Man
And a Troll
A she Troll
A Road—that’s lovely
It’s also bad—is this development?
There’s no rain—is this climate change?
There’s thoughtless acceptance of the way things are.
And love?
And a hell of a lot of Starbucks coffee—??

Ya, I didn’t really get it.
I think I missed the point.

My rec? It’s a free KU read and listen, so, well, maybe?

Profile Image for — nova.
434 reviews309 followers
July 21, 2022
“You’re going to spill your Starbucks,” she said.
“It’s your Starbucks,” he said.
“Well, then you really shouldn’t spill it.”

i'm usually a big fan of weird. the weirder, the better. but this just.... didn't work for me. i've read it twice now and i did enjoy it more the second time around, but not much.
Profile Image for Emma.
893 reviews870 followers
December 22, 2020
2.5/5 Stars

As soon as I found out about this short story I knew I had to read since it's written by Rainbow Rowell, whose works I usually enjoy. This novella was just okay, I honestly expected more from it. I know that it's supposed to be short and quick to read, but I feel like there could have been more work behind it and we could have gotten more information.
Profile Image for Garan.
110 reviews134 followers
December 4, 2020
I loved this short story so much. It packs a huge punch and serves as a beautiful commentary on climate change. I felt so much for the bridge troll and wanted to hug her so bad. Even cried a little :,)
Profile Image for Carol.
699 reviews36 followers
February 22, 2022
Quick, short,delightful and I dare say perfect for those who enjoy a good tale and good coffee.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,676 reviews919 followers
December 15, 2020
...this didn't hit the sweet spot I needed. I was so looking forward to a collection showcasing fairy tales that I have read growing up. "The Prince and the Troll" got very repetitive really early on and now I kind of hate Starbucks (more than I did previously).

"The Prince and the Troll follows an everyman named Adam who drops his phone and comes across a woman (or something) that lives in the mud under a bridge. There seems to be a larger global thing going on in the story, but that is pretty much ignored for Adam and the woman who lives in the mud.

I don't know what else to say about this story. It was brief, it was weird, and it did not do a blessed thing for me.
January 4, 2021
This was a short, fairytale retelling, which apart from plenty of mentions of Starbucks (I prefer Costa) lacked any real purpose, and I think this story was certainly underdeveloped.

I thought the premise was interesting, and I usually love fairytales, and retellings, but this was a little strange.

We have a female troll that loves a Starbucks, and apparently as long as the male keeps them coming, the troll will keep returning. Makes sense, right?

I like the idea of these short stories, but unfortunately, this one didn't do a lot for me.
Profile Image for Nana .
1,201 reviews36 followers
December 25, 2020
Demasiado, demasiado corto y nose que acabo de leer, solo se que se menciono muchas veces la cafeteria Starbucks y ahora se me antojo un chocolate calientito, jaja.. 😁
Profile Image for Eman Mostafa.
161 reviews180 followers
January 30, 2023
Magical creatures are usually more cryptic..

It touched my heart .. 💙
I didn't expect to read this kind of fairy tale because of the cover which looks like a Christmas story :D however, the amount of Starbucks is very satisfying for coffee addicts 🤤

He closed his eyes. He focused hard on good things: rain, her ..

It's very deeeeep and soft, I think whoever is going to read that novella will understand it differently, it's like the mirror that reflects your own feelings ..
I loved the part when he slept with his muddy clothes without changing it, it means he liked her worst parts before her good stuff .. But come on! I was waiting for that beautiful woman who warned him to be her 😂💔

By the way, the end is not clear enough so I had to read the reviews to get the idea 😼



-"You think I'm at my most useful when I'm being useful to you?"

-"What's the very best part of the road?" she asked.
"The road goes everywhere you'd want to go. Everywhere you'd think of going. It never ends. And you're never alone there. And everything you'd ever want is right there on the road."
"That's not the one best part," she said. "That's too many things."
"Fine," he said, "okay-the best part of being on the road is that when you're on it, it's all that you can see."

-"Tragedies just happen sometimes," he said. (It was what people said after a Tragedy.) "Yes," she agreed. "Some things are unavoidable."
"Yes," he said. But that wasn't true. "I mean, no. It's not like that. Tragedies on the road happen even when they don't have to."
She was still looking at him. She was still confused.
"They could be avoided," he explained. "But we don't avoid them." "Why not?" "I can't explain it!" he shouted at her. (He'd never really shouted at her.) "It's part of living on the road! It's a small price to pay!"

-"Oh, Adam, you are weak. Sometimes it's the thing I like best about you. You're so fucking soft."

-Come back tomorrow. Bring me coffee." "The coffee seems silly now," he said. "I would have brought you gold.

5/2/2021 ☕
Profile Image for Hilda.
1,047 reviews126 followers
January 5, 2021
This isn’t easy. This is just another kind of hard.

I don’t know what I read. Was it suppose to be horror or a fairy tale? I know it’s a short story and that’s my fault for picking it up. But nothing really happens. I was expecting something grand at the end. It felt like the story was leading you somewhere. But it was just mud and you got stuck.
Profile Image for Somia.
2,049 reviews121 followers
January 6, 2021
It's not good when you finish a book frowning and thinking 'huh what was that?'

A short story possibly sponsored by Starbucks (it was mentioned a fair bit).

Not the lovely little tale I was hoping for. Completely underwhelmed.

Acquired via KU.
January 10, 2021
★ — 1 Star!

Ok, I must admit this story while reading and after reading it has left me confused. It was definitely strange and I don’t feel like it was a good kind of strange where you crave to break down what it means but more like the kind of strange that leaves you frustrated and never wanting to think of it again. It was only 26 pages but those 26 pages felt too long.

I have also tried to read Carry On by this author and I always struggle in the beginning of that novel as well. I also tried to read Fangirl and ended up DNFing it. I can’t help but wonder if this author isn’t for me.

I guess from a goodreads challenge stand point I’m not mad that I read this. It certainly pushes me closer to my 100 books goal. But I don’t read for the number but for the quality and unfortunately this just didn’t work for me on all levels.


5% - I didn’t realize this had a modern setting. I figured it was either a high fantasy type of setting or Historical Fiction.

13% - This reads like a fairytale. But unlike Holly Black’s ‘How The King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories’ I don’t care much for it here.

16% - I get bad vibes from the troll.

23% - “You’re going to spill your Starbucks,” she said. “It’s your Starbucks,” he said. “Well, then you really shouldn’t spill it.”

33% - “Some people say it’s a waste of money,” he said. “But I always feel like it’s worth it. Small, good things are worth it.”

43% - “The road goes everywhere you’d want to go. Everywhere you’d think of going. It never ends. And you’re never alone there. And everything you’d ever want is right there on the road.”

52% - “You shouldn’t focus on the bad things,” he said. “Because you draw them toward you. Happiness is about focusing on good things and drawing those things toward you.”
Profile Image for Kandice.
1,496 reviews222 followers
December 22, 2020
I don't know what to think about that...the beginning was ok, the middle was great and the end just didn't mean anything to me.

There was a notable quote, though: This isn't easy. This is just another kind of hard.
Profile Image for Moonie.
72 reviews44 followers
December 15, 2020
points for being experimental and weird but wow the first rainbow Rowell writing I have not cared for, At All. I know she struggles with writing on demand and I figure that’s the case. a lot of commentary with no substance. And it’s not the format, either - Midnights is perfection. Womp.
Profile Image for Johaly ☾.
93 reviews5 followers
December 21, 2020
I can’t really sit here and pretend that I understood much of what was happening. I had to read through other reviews when it was over.

I initially thought it could be a commentary on homelessness and the comforts of living “on the grid”. Then the troll/mermaid just threw me off and the ending just left me wondering “what in the actual fuck just happened?”. I almost thought that it was going to go full blown Genesis on us and borrow Adam and Eve and flood elements, but nope.

The common interpretation seems to be a lot more contemporary with its climate change angle. That honestly makes a lot more sense. It’s definitely a thought-provoking story and a good conversation piece. Despite of everything, I couldn’t put it down.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,351 reviews199 followers
December 29, 2020

Sooo…I truly don’t know what to say or think about this one.

I mean we have Rainbow Rowell, a prince, and a bridge troll--that's one hell of a combo. Plus I love bridge trolls! :) BUT I think I’m missing something here. What was up with the emphasis on the coffee from Starbucks?

I did like the tension at times. Like when the mud slicked troll reached out for an ankle, then another ankle, and then moved up higher and higher. The story just didn’t do anything with that tension.

I’m curious about the rest of the series now though. So off to find more...

Profile Image for Nat.
542 reviews3,170 followers
August 16, 2021
“You live under a bridge!”
“I know.”
“You wouldn’t understand!”
“Fine, I don’t understand!”

Interesting, cheeky concept. And now I'm definitely craving a new book by Rainbow Rowell, especially something in the vein of Fangirl/Landline...

This review and more can be found on my blog.
Profile Image for Jane (whatjanereads).
497 reviews88 followers
December 17, 2020
I bought this in anticipation of a Christmassy story. Well, it wasn’t. The covers are kinda misleading I guess?

This was kind of a „what the guck did I just read“ thing for me. Because I know theres a ton to analyse there, and I was never good at these things. I got that it was about global warming, but every tiny detail has to mean something and I think I‘m just too dumb for these things. 😅

So well, it was of course written beautifully and I felt for both characters, but I really don’t I is what do think about this.
Also I expected something else, so this might add to my disappointment.
Profile Image for Bungou_bxddie.
65 reviews1 follower
June 13, 2022
*Rating solid 1*

This story follows a bridgetroll and a guy named Adam. Adam drops his phone once and a bridgetroll throws it in the air to him after some talking between them. After that day Adam started to get two Starbuck drinks and go to the bridge. They would always chat but soon after. Adam starts to convince the troll to stay on land with him...

Yeah, no. This book was really stupid. No offense, if I am being honest it's the same thing happening every day in the story but in a different way! Also, please explain this,

“Oh, Adam, you are weak. Sometimes it’s the thing I like best about you. You’re so fucking soft.”

IT'S JUST soo... bad. I don't get the point of the book. The description sounded so good but then the story was bad. I'm kind of glad it was only 28 pages long, I would have marked it as DNF and and not finish it. But since it was short I decided to continue it. 😬

The story makes no sense, I did although finish this in a couple of seatings. I'm not sure if I should be continuing the other books? I probably would just read the other books and be very picky about it 💅🤣

I have read other reviews and one of them got me thinking why Starbucks was mentioned in there so much. I have to agree with the other readers that have read this book. I'm not sure if this book is good. The whole thing was just 🤢 in a way, sorry.

At the end they didn't even live on land together and I just had to close the book and write a review on my thoughts 💕

Throughout the story I just had to close the book and give myself a one minute break.

Well that's pretty much all my thoughts ❤

- Bungou_bxddie

“Oh, Adam, you are weak. Sometimes it’s the thing I like best about you. You’re so fucking soft.”

Didn't like this book at all. Sorry.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Arundhati.
156 reviews43 followers
March 29, 2021
Just when I was getting into the story, it just ended. It was just too short and there were so many things things going on which were left unanswered. Enjoyed the narration and the few glimpses of the world building we got. Even in the few pages rowell establishes good characterisation. I definitely will be giving others in the series a read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,176 reviews

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