Hello everyone, Paul R. Hewlett here. First, I’d like to thank Kathy at I am a Reader Not a Writer and Andrea at Reading Lark for hosting the Fangs, Fur & Fey Giveaway Hop. I also wanted to let you know about the upcoming Happily Ever After Giveaway Hop. Sher will be reviewing Urchin King by Katharina Gerlach and the author will be giving away 5 ebook copies. You don’t want to miss that one! Now on to my review of Michael Dahl’s Troll Hunters. The small town of Zion Falls is enjoying the Draconid meteor shower, but is that the only once-in-lifetime event happening? Something is attacking Louise’s pet rabbits, the Fisher’s have crashed their SUV into who knows what, and a putrid smell drives Bryce, Thora, and the rest of the meteor spectators from the old quarry. Deep below the earth and Zion Falls an ancient evil is rising and mustering its strength.
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Louise, Pablo, Thora, and Zak are thrust into this nightmare with the future of all mankind depending on them. Aided by the mysterious Dr. Hoo, they embark on a mission to save their friends and family and to stop the ancient, evil Trolls that are threatening to take over the world. Together they discover powers greater than they could ever imagine, but will they be enough to stop a greater evil than they ever dreamed of?
I enjoyed Troll Hunters by Michael Dahl. It is a good story filled with constant action, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. The plot is strong and really exciting. The black and white illustrations by Ben Kovar are fantastic and really add to the story. The presentation of this book is
on par with the other books I’ve read from Capstone. In a word, fantastic. Children will enjoy picking this book up and examining the cover and flipping through the chapters looking at the pictures. The notes and information sections at the back of the book area real hit as well. I wish that the author would have directed my attention there early on in the book, however. I spent some time examining the book before starting it, and knew it was there. If one picked it up and started reading, they would not know that it existed until they had completed the book. It would be a shame to miss out on this while reading the book. The dialogue and language is appropriate for middle grade audiences. The story is very scary, however, and the end is downright grisly and traumatic. Some parts are pretty complex as well. Taking these things into consideration, I would not recommend Troll Hunters to readers under the age of 12.
What I liked most: I really liked how the author wove astrology and constellations into the story. I found it very interesting and liked that angle for kids to read and learn about. It very well may spark a young reader’s interest in these topics. I also like the camaraderie amongst the four heroes. The new, creative take on the age old monsters, Trolls, is also a plus.
What missed just a bit: First and foremost, I was not fond of the ending. Not so much how the story ended, but rather the last forty to fifty pages. They were very graphic and violent. The setting and scenes were very scary and not something I’d recommend for younger readers. Some of the subject matter was very complex and upsetting. There is a lot of astrology and science. Another minor miss for me was Dr. Hoo. I understand that his name is a shortened version from the Troll language, the definition of which I will not divulge since that may be a spoiler. While it may not be an issue for younger readers, I could not get the image of the sci-fi legend Dr. Who out of my head.
Overall, Troll Hunters is an exciting, well written story. It portrays four young heroes with very interesting powers, fighting evil Trolls. I enjoyed the explanation of our young hero’s powers and the new creative portrayal of Trolls. Combine this with some very advanced, scary situations and graphic violence at the end and it should be read by older middle grade readers (ages 12 and up). I think that it will be well received and the potential for a continuation of this story exists. Below is the trailer for your viewing pleasure. Once you watch it, I think you’ll understand my thoughts about the reading level.