Trollhunters by Guillermo Del Toro and Daniel Kraus
Genre: YA Horror/Fantasy
Publication Date: July 7th, 2015
Trollhunters is on sale now!
“Guillermo del Toro’s name on the cover of a children’s book – be sure the adventure is not for the timid hearted! He knows the young want stories that do not lie about the shadows under beds and bridges – and in human hearts. Trollhunters teaches us about both kinds. About true friendship, grim and slimy heroes, the strength of outsiders- and the courage it takes to face everyday life.” – Cornelia Funke, Bestselling author of the Inkheart trilogy
“Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus have deftly forged a thrilling, nightmare-inducing monstrous world filled with terrifying trolls, lost boys and mysterious artifacts. The gruesome text, paired with ghoulish illustrations, makes for a fantastic adventure in an underground kingdom that’s just a dangerous as the trials and tribulations of middle school. I’m never looking under my bed again.” – Tony DiTerlizzi, Bestselling author and co-creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles
Trollhunters is being classified as a YA read, but I think I would recommend this book more toward the Middle Grade age children, 10-15, which makes sense as that’s the age range of the characters in the story. The co-author’s did a spectacular job of not talking down to their target audience, while also not writing a story that spoke over young teen heads. The pacing was action packed, and humorous. In fact, if I were going to critique the flow at all, I could say that the writing was so fast paced that at times I felt like I was missing something important, or only absorbing 80% of the story because everything just kept barreling forward.
That would be my only thought that could be considered on the negative side. Surprisingly, because I was nervous about it, I actually found that I liked Trollhunters more than I thought I would. It starts off in 1969 with Jimbo and Jack, Doctor X and Victor Power as they call themselves. The prologue sets up the story, gives us a quick dip into the underworld that Del Toro and Kraus have created, then moves on to present day and picks back up with Jim Jr. Reading about Jim and his best friend Tub takes us back to high school, bullies, and the struggles of just not fitting in without turning it into a serious book. Don’t go into this thinking that it’s about serious real world topics. The story is lighter than that. It’s funnier. The characters are exaggerations of real world types, which really fit with the fantastical troll story.
Another aspect of Trollhunters that I really liked was the inclusion of a strong female character. There weren’t many girls, only one actually, but Claire was pretty spectacular. She was smarter, stronger, more assertive, unafraid and unapologetic. She could be charmed by snakes, because nobody is perfect, but once she realized that she was being manipulated she wasn’t afraid to stick up for herself and for her friends. I applaud the authors for giving little Jim a spectacular yin to his yang. I also applaud them for writing a unique female character, down to her style of clothing, her accent, her physical appearance… and then letting you see how all of her strangeness was beautiful. I hope as our children grow up, the next generation of readers, these types of women/girls become the norm because this is who I hope my daughter emulates.
Lastly, I am such a fan of illustrated fictional books. I don’t mean like Charlotte’s Web, or typical young child chapter books. Those are wonderful too, come on. Who doesn’t love Charlotte’s Web… but I mean the books with true artwork. Glossy pages, serious attention to detail, true beautiful artwork. Probably my absolute favorite representation of exactly what I mean is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Illustrated by Jim Kay. Trollhunters contained such amazing full color artwork. You couldn’t help but pause each time one came up and stare at them, there was such detail. Each troll looked different, just as they should, and the images are as vibrant as described inside the pages. They are the perfect accompaniment to the story.
Basically, Trollhunters contained a cast of crazy characters as unique as those from Goonies with a plot that felt like a throwback to the 80’s Little Monsters (Howie Mandel, Fred & Ben Savage, monsters under your bed…). The trolls, one in particular, was as sweet and lovable as Ludo from Labyrinth. Trollhunters may be, in my opinion, targeted for that Middle Grade crowd but I think anyone who enjoys as fast, fun, magical read (either by yourself or with your kids) will be surprised by how much they enjoy this story, even if they’re (like me) hesitant to start it at first.
Thank you to Dysney-Hyperion for offering an advance copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
~ Creative Team ~
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Guillermo del Toro is best known for his critically acclaimed feature films, such as Pan’s Labyrinth, Helllboy, The Hobbit, and Pacific Rim, as well as his best-selling Strain Trilogy.
Daniel Kraus is the award-winning author of Scowler and Rotters, and is the director of six feature films. He lives with his wife in Chicago.
From Pan’s Labyrinth to Hellboy to his best-selling novel The Strain, del Toro has captured the imagination through his works. His co-author Daniel Kraus is another award-winning author and filmmaker with a penchant for horror stories. Kraus’ debut novel, The Monster Variations, was selected for New York Public Library’s “100 Best Stuff for Teens.” Fangoria called Rotters, his Bram Stoker-finalist and Odyssey Award-winning second novel, “a new horror classic.” Kraus’ 2013 title, Scowler, also won an Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:
Sean Murray is an illustrator, concept artist, author and teacher known for his work on video games such as Dungeons & Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings Online, as well as the creator of The World of Gateway, which includes his fantasy guidebook Gateway: The Book of Wizards and the upcoming card game Gateway Uprising.
~ Giveaway ~
BECOME THE HERO prize pack
Prepare for anything! One (1) winner will receive:
• Copy of Trollhunters and branded pins;
• Plus a $25 Visa gift card to stock up on your monster-attack survival supplies.
(Giveaway is for US addresses only. Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion. Badass Book Reviews is not responsible for lost or stolen merchandise. Must be 18 years or older to enter.)
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