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Four Stars: Troll Hunters by Michael Dahl

Troll Hunters by Michael Dahl is a story of four children finding that their world sits on top of monsters of all kinds and that they are children of the stars; full of beautiful illustrations, this story is perfect for pre-teens and story lovers of all ages

This is my second NetGalley advanced copy and I had honestly no idea what to  expect. Troll Hunters by Michael Dahl was a very pleasant surprise. It is obviously aimed at pre-teens with it’s language and main characters, but was still very enjoyable for this 20-something to read. The best part though was the beautiful illustrations every few pages; seriously, wow. They are what really sold the story for me and make me recommend it to everyone; use any excuse you need to (children, neighbor’s children, your dog) to read this book when it comes out if you like fantasy at all. For those of you who have read the Percy Jackson books about Olympians, this book reminded me a lot of that series in terms of audience.

Note: The book is scheduled to be published Aug. 1 2012, mark your calendars!

Title: Troll Hunters
Author: Michael Dahl
Illustrator: Ben Kovar
Pages: ~320 as e-copy
Genre-ish: Children’s (Pre-teenish) Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★☆ – Really fantastic for its audience and fun for everyone else
Setting: Our world for the most part, this book takes place mostly on the outskirts (and under) a small country town; except that this town happens to be a good place for an ancient race of trolls to break out onto the surface….
Premise: Fortunately, humankind has defenders: the children of the stars. Four ordinary children are thrown into the path of these invading trolls and with the help of a friendly and mysterious Dr. Hoo, find out they have powers far greater than they imagined.

Strengths:

  • I can not say this enough: Beautiful illustrations every couple of pages; they really bring the story to life and are just wonderful to look at in their own right!Sketch of Dr. Hoo from the book Troll Hunters
  • A fun and interesting new idea for child heroes, these children’s powers come from constellations in the night sky
  • A nice spin on classic fantasy trolls, with lots of room for more development in future books
  • For adults it will be an easy read with fairly simple words, since it is at the level of pre-teen’s vocabulary
  • Good role models for children in the four main characters (two girls, two boys, various ages) and strong secondary characters
  • The action and peril was mature enough for me to be very engaged in the story, even though I was pretty sure it would have a happy ending

Weaknesses:

  • Given the pre-teen audience, the writing sometimes seemed a bit too simplistic for me
  • There are some scary parts, so if you are reading it with a child, be ready to reassure them that the trolls can’t come get them
  • There are also some sad parts, so be ready for that if reading with a younger audience
  • Again, given the audience it’s understandable, but some of the child-like logic and events made my interest start to wane

Summary:
I really enjoyed this for what it is: an illustrated story aimed at a younger audience. As long as you go into it with that mindset, I highly recommend you find a copy when it comes out. The illustrations, as I keep saying over and over, are really impressive. It’s a concept that I think would have also made a great fantasy for an older audience, and definitely has potential to be another very popular children’s series.

Any other advanced copy readers out there? I’d love to see your reviews! Are you looking forward to this book’s release?

Also you may have noticed the little sketches I’ve thrown into the last two posts, thoughts? Annoying? Fun? Completely unremarkable? Comment!

-A
Anya from About The Story

Similar Stories Reviewed:
His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman – Children as main characters, though aimed at a slightly older audience

© 2012 – 2013, Anya. All rights reserved.

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