*Image and book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Jim Sturges Jr. has an overprotective father and no social status at school. He can't bring himself to excel at anything. But when he starts seeing creatures in the dark corners of the town and kids start to go missing, Jim is brought into the ancient world of trolls, literally kicking and screaming.
I don't often get to say this, especially with books for younger readers, but HOLY WAH! THIS WAS TOTALLY AWESOME! I NEED TO BUY THIS BOOK!
Ahem. Sorry about that.
I'll admit, a lot of the plot points were predictable, but the characters are so engaging and the world their in is so mesmerizing you don't care! This world is so complex and has such a rich history that I am eagerly looking forward to the sequel that was hinted at in the last chapter. Yes, some people may have seen the history as an exposition dump, but I saw it as the greatest Troll Scholar gladly showing off his knowledge because someone is actually listening to him. The characters only add to the richness of this world and you want to see all of them make it through.
With regards to the intended audience, this book would easily be too scary for middle-grade students. I strongly recommend it for junior-high or older and not just because of the content. There are so many new vocabulary words that I had to look up. But if you are at all interested in monsters vs heroes or monsters as heroes, this is a great book. It is a wonderful combination of adventure, action, horror and coming-of-age. I give full credit to del Toro and Kraus for finding just the right balance of each element.
If you've looked at my Rating System and my rating history, you know that, while I give a lot of fours, I reserve five hoots for those books that I'm willing to yell at people to read. GET THIS BOOK! YOU WILL LOVE IT! 5 HOOTS!