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Book Review

Book Cover

Trollhunters (Hardback)


Author: Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus
Publisher: Hot Key Books
RRP: £10.99
ISBN: 978 1 4714 0527 3
Publication Date: 07 July 2015

Childhood trauma can have differing effects on the individual. For Jim Sturges, the loss of his brother Jack would affect him for the rest of his life. It's not every day you see your brother stolen by a Troll. Jim Sr’s desire to protect his own child has meant that Jim Jr’s life is one full of restrictions. It’s bad enough that he has to navigate around the local school bully, who relentlessly picks on his only friend, Toby (a.k.a. Tubs), but he has also acquired a burgeoning romantic interest in the new girl in school, Claire Fontaine. Pulled out from his mundane life, Jim’s world changes when he is kidnapped by Trolls, only to discover that he has a destiny...

Trollhunters (2015. 322 pages) is a young adult comic horror novel written by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus.

With del Toro’s name attached to the book I was expecting a rich labyrinthine gothic surreal fest. What you actually get is a well written, relatively straightforward, young adult novel.

The story is well set up in the prologue where Jim Sr., witnesses his brother's abduction. When we skip forward in time, by about thirty years, he is divorced from his wife, leaving him alone with his only son. The intervening years have not been kind and his desire to keep Jim Jr. safe has tumbled over into neurosis. Their house has more locks than Fort Knox and if Jim Jr. is ever a little late getting home his father contacts the police.

The main focus of the book is on Jim Jr. who is you average geeky fifteen years old, not big enough to stand up to the school bully nor confident enough to chase the girl. In some ways this is an odd book which tries to blend comedy and horror all into a single tale. The first half of the book is quite dark, and then it goes through a profound change, in relation to the nature of the Trolls, at which point the narrative lightens up before ending on an all boys adventure type conclusion.

Of course, novels require a motivating force and in this case it is the imminent threat of a Troll war. The last one coincided with Jack's disappearance and the abduction of many other children. The potential repetition of this motivates Jack to become the Trollhunter of the book’s title.

As with any jointly written book it is difficult to tell which bits have been provided by del Toro and which by Kraus. Nothing particularly jars in the prose to indicate a change of author.

The book does contain a certain amount of gore; well, this is a story about Trolls, after all, but nothing which shouldn’t thrill the average fourteen year old male. The descriptions of the Trolls are nicely detailed and the relationships between the characters ring true. There are even a number of black and white plates depicting scenes from the story. Overall, it is a good first novel for this new series.


Charles Packer

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