Author: Guillermo del Toro,Daniel Kraus
Format: Hardcover (320 pages)
Published: Disney-Hyperion (July 7, 2015)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 3 out of 5 Wine Glasses
In San Bernardino, California, children are going missing.
The townspeople don't believe the rumours of trolls, but fifteen-year-old Jim Jnr knows that they're a very real threat. At night, is anyone safe?
TROLLHUNTERS is a funny, gruesome and undeniably del Toro-esque adventure perfect for teen readers and fans of Pan's Labyrinth.
It’s a terrible thing, isn’t it? To be dragged under?”
TROLLHUNTERS co-authored by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus is a YA horror novel with a targeted audience of middle-grades and up. I wanted to love this; I did like it. Oh my! If I were a young adult still, I would have inhaled this quick-paced, campy read while safely ensconced under my covers. Honestly, I used to have terrible nightmares about monsters under my bed and in my closet; this book would have fed those fears. However, I am no longer within the book's targeted audience and have enjoyed Halloween Horror Nights at Universal too many times. While I enjoyed the story, some parts dragged for me. I'm sure those very same parts would have had me trembling if I were younger.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the phenomenal full-color illustrations in the book. They were drawn by the obviously very talented Sean Murray and they helped bring the written story to life. Sean Murray is known for his work on video games such as 'Dungeons & Dragons Online' and 'The Lord of the Rings Online'.
As the story opens, two young brothers are pedaling home at a time when almost two hundred children have mysteriously gone missing in what was known as the milk carton epidemic. It was named that because pictures of the missing children adorned every milk carton. This particular day was special because it was Jack Sturges' birthday. He and his younger brother, Jim, had been having too much fun to notice that the sun was going down. As the two children raced home, Jim lost sight of Jack who was ahead of him nearing the Holland Transit Bridge. That was the last he would see of Jack, who joined the list of missing children that fateful night.
Fast forward to years later. Jim has had a son, Jim Sturges, Jr. It's tough for Jim Jr as his father has become paranoid to the extreme ever since losing his older brother. When it's nearing dark, steel shutters cover their home's windows, multiple locks secure their doors, their house is lit up with flood lights and any movement is captured by security cameras. Jim Jr. can never be out at night; Period. Unfortunately, Jim Jr. discovers that the monsters aren't thwarted by his father's security measures. They have other ways of getting in...
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from TROLLHUNTERS:
Something warned me that what I might see would haunt me forever.
"I'm serious, Jim. You need to put this crap away. You walk into school on Monday talking to me, or anyone else, about the city's pesky troll problem, and you're not exactly going to get a lot of people saying, 'Gee, thanks for the warning.' It'll spread faster than mono. You think things are tough for us now? Jim, this will be the end. I'm sorry if you had a crazy nightmare. I really am. But I can't let you ruin our lives.
HAVE YOU SEEN ME?
The last count Jim had heard was 190 missing kids. The number would have seemed like fantasy if not for the evidence he saw everywhere: a higher fence around the school, larger numbers of parents patrolling the playgrounds, the police crackdown on kids being on the streets after dark. It was unusual that Jim and Jack would be allowed to be out on their bikes this close to sundown, but it was Jack's birthday and their parents couldn't say no....
Jim squinted into the sun. He could make out Jack pedaling so fast that birds threw themselves out of the way not land until they had gone south for the winter. Jack whooped and dry leaves danced in the Sportcrest's wake. In just a few seconds, Jack would pass under the Holland Transit Bridge, a monolith of concrete and steel....
He had to catch up to his brother. When they got home, he wanted it to be as equals... The training wheels protested - SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK! - but he kept on cycling his legs, willing them to be longer and stronger.
When he looked up again, Jack was gone.
Jim could see the Sportcrest lying beneath the bridge, silhouetted by the falling sun, it's handlebars bent and the front wheel still spinning.
This book confused me at times as parts of it seemed to be directed to an older audience. For instance, parents may want to be aware that there are rare instances of mild profanity in this book - bastard and asshole are two that I remember. Also, the heroes are bullied; I hope that, in the next book, the bullies get their come-uppance.
Readers of TROLLHUNTERS will learn about the value of true friendship and that courage can be found while facing everyday life. Kids can relate to the heroes and heroines in his book who are tasked with saving the world from monsters who steal children from their beds at night. The storytelling alternated between intense horror, adrenaline rushes, humor and YA growing pains that young adults can relate to. I would recommend this story to mature middle grade students-on-up who enjoy scary stories.