Book Review: ‘Trollhunters’ by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Posted: 11 June 2017 in Book reviews
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Synopsis

September 21, 1969 was the last day Jim would see his brother Jack alive. For the last year, children had been disappearing. Curfews were set, and rules put in place, but it was Jack’s birthday so their parents were a little lenient. Jim took his eyes off Jack for a second and when he looked back his brother was gone; his bike laying on the ground in the shadow of the bridge he had crossed beneath. What Jim saw staring back at him from beneath the bridge terrified and haunted him for the rest of his life.

Decades later, Jim Sturges Jr learned just how real his father’s fears were. The many locks on the front door, the steel panels over the windows, the flood lights on all night, and all the other security measures he put in place were all for naught when they came. But that hadn’t happened yet. For now, being embarrassed by his dad and the high school struggles from being unpopular were his only worries. That was until something unknown attacked him, and then pulled him under his bed.

When Jim awoke, he realised his father had every right to be afraid. Monsters were real. His abductor was a troll, one of hundreds that lived below San Bernardino. He learns that the Sturges’ are ancient family of Trollhunters. And he is now forcefully enlisted to their ranks. This is not by chance. The troll responsible for the Milk Carton Epidemic, Gunmar the Black, and took his uncle has nearly regained his power. Nasty trolls of all kinds are gathering for the moment he is freed. Then they will usher in a new era of troll destruction.

So, together with ARRRGH!!!, Blinky, and a surprise appearance from an unexpected Trollhunter, they track and kill the bad trolls and prepare for the inevitable rise of Gunmar. All the while, he is trying to balance school, his upcoming math test, Spanish, the play, his crush on Claire, and his best friend Tub. With so much at stake, will Jim be able to live up to his potential as a Trollhunter? Or will he and his friends end up as troll food?

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed the cartoon and was intrigued to see how the book compared to the show. It didn’t take too long to realise the two have very little in common. Despite this, the book was good. While the show is kid-friendly, the book is better suited for older kids.

First off, let’s compare the two. They are vastly different. Jimbo is the nickname that Jim’s Uncle Jack gave his brother, Claire is Scottish, Jim lives with his dad (not his mom), they rarely go to Trollmarket, Blinky looks totally different from the show, ARRRGH!!! is a woman, Strickler, Angor Rot, and NotEnrique do not even exist, Jim’s last name is different, and so on. The goal is the same (to stop Gunmar), the main characters are there, but so much more about the two is very different. That being said, I enjoyed them both.

What I liked most about the story is Jim and his backstory. I know it’s really cliche, the bullied kid who goes through trials and ends up stronger than his aggressors. But I love the underdog. You cannot help but root for the loser and hope he triumphs. I mean, who cheers for the bully anyway? I also liked how the trolls came in various shapes, sizes, and colours. When you think of trolls, it’s hard to think of anything other than the lurking monster that live under bridges. I liked how there were many kinds of very different trolls depicted. The story is very imaginative and quite fun.

Let’s take a look at the characters. Jim is the main character and for a teenager he’s not bad. He’s bullied, laughed at, embarrassed by his dad, but even with everything pointing to him being angry at the world, he’s not. He still wants to protect everyone. Even Steve. He’s not perfect and he knows it, which is another great quality. He struggles with believing he’s good enough or can even do it. But he fights anyway. The rest of the characters are secondary. I felt bad for Tub. Unlike Jim, he is willing to accept their task from the beginning. But his reasons are a bit selfish. He wants a better existence than the one he has now. Completely understandable. Claire is cool. While I liked her in the show, I loved her Scottishness in the book. Her weird words for cussing out people and strong personality were lovely. The mysterious recruiter (who’s identity I shan’t reveal) is a bit of a dick. I disliked how he treated Jim. I understand that time was short, but that still gave no right to act as he did. He is a complicated character, so it is hard to judge him. Jim’s dad was a depressing character. He has lost so much, and struggled for so long. He is really pathetic. He let his fear keep him from living, which led to him losing so much more. But you can’t say he isn’t a survivor.

The writing makes it clear it is written for a teenage audience. It is easy to read, fluid, and the verbiage is not too complex. The dialogue is individual to each character and not complicated to follow. Despite the ease of the read, it may be somewhat too graphic for younger kids. Again, it is not like the cartoon.

All in all, the book is good. It combines fantasy and real life into a fun, adventurous tale. Considering that the cartoon is going into a second season, I wonder if the book will also have a sequel. Only time will tell. Enjoy 😉

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Buy at Barnes and Noble

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