Hilda and the Mountain King is the second part of the story begun in Hilda and the Stone Forest. A quick recap at the beginning explains what’s happened. In her never-ending desire for adventure, young Hilda was responsible for herself and her mother being trapped outside the city in the dwelling-place of a group of trolls. After they escaped from their predicament and went home to bed exhausted, it turned out they weren’t out of danger just yet. Troll magic caused Hilda and a baby troll to switch places while she slept. Hilda woke up in a troll’s stone body in the caves, and a baby troll woke up as a human toddler in Hilda’s bed.

Luke Pearson continues the faster pace of the previous volume, with slightly spikier drawing adding energy to his intricate layouts as Hilda’s mother figures out what has happened and attempts to rescue her daughter from inside the mountain. Hilda, meanwhile, attempts to find her own way out of her situation and return home to her mother. Many more secrets about the history of the troll kingdom are revealed, and as we discover why they are so compelled to try and get into the city, Luke Pearson very cleverly takes all the information he has scattered throughout the last five books to deliver a big revelation that ties the whole series together.

Hilda and the Mountain King feels like a culmination of all the previous adventures, bringing together many of the friends Hilda has made in earlier stories to help her through this one. It builds to such a poetic resolution that it’s possible to imagine that with the ending Luke Pearson has said everything he has to say about Hildafolk. If this is where Hilda’s trail ends, readers can’t really feel too sad; the sheer density of beautifully drawn and coloured new storytelling, building on old myths in these six books has created a new mythology that will stand up to a lot of pleasurable rereading for years to come.