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, whichTrollhuntersIll01 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 storyTrollhuntersIll05.
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 TrollhuntersIll03beautiful 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.
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