Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus ‘Trollhunters’ Review
Written by: Matt Molgaard
2015 has produced some stellar fiction, but of all the very, very special novels I’ve read in the last nine months, none compare to Daniel Kraus and Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy horror masterpiece, Trollhunters. Not only is the novel written beautifully, it also capitalizes on a fantastic premise and showcases the kind of characters that readers are going to truly adore. It’s a brilliant, top notch read that’ll have you turning every page without pause. The only negative thing that could be said about the novel is that it has to – sadly – end.
The story follows a rag-tag group of misfits who fit neither in our world, nor the subterranean world of the fearsome trolls. But these players come from both, as the focal protagonists are two teenage residents of San Bernadino, a long lost boy who’s taken up battle as his calling and a pair of lovable trolls who just want to ensure that peace exists between this world and the other. But there’s a serious war waging and it threatens to not only spill over from the troll world into ours, it threatens to devour earth’s children with no remorse. Can five unlikely heroes change the complexion of our future, or will the world as we know it be consumed by a monstrous evil?
Again, the idea behind this story cannot be praised enough, but neither can the sublime character development we’re gifted. Within 50 pages readers are guaranteed to find themselves deeply submerged in all things Jim Sturges, and by the 100-page mark we’re completely prepared to march onto the battlefield with five noble heroes who, an or so prior, we never knew. And make no mistake, these five are indeed genuine heroes. There’s a purity that Kraus and del Toro bestow upon these characters that warms the heart. In a weird way, it gives the reader a little hope; hope that there are similar uncontaminated spirits walking around in the real world, because if there are, there will always be a chance at an improved, positive, united society. Yes, that’s exactly how powerful this novel really is.
The action is riveting, the sub plots – especially Jim’s connection with Claire, his love interest from afar – are captivating, never once feeling like distraction points, but rather embraced support and crucial story enhancements. The pacing is pitch-perfect (this really is one of those novels you open and don’t put down until you’ve finished it) and the finale certainly qualifies as epic.
Though Trollhunters is designed to young adults first and foremost, it’s such an infectious, carefully written piece that readers of all ages are going to fall in love with it immediately. And, it’s the exact kind of story that makes one yearn for a big screen adaptation. This has Amblin written all over it, and if Amblin has this one on their radar, and if a deal can be worked out between all parties, we could see a generation defining film one day released. Trollhunters has a Goonies feel to it through and through, and we all know that The Goonies is about as timeless a film as one could ask for. Trollhunters could easily be the next Goonies, so I’ll take a brief moment to beg: to the execs at Amblin, please, please, for the love of all things wonderful about the cinematic world, turn Trollhunters into the masterful film it can be!!
It isn’t often that I can add a new piece of fiction to my miniscule list of all-time favorite novels (it’s so rare I never, ever expect it to happen), but today I can say – with beaming joy – that Trollhunters joins the ranks of Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot and Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes as an all-time favorite. This is perfection on paper, and chances are I’ll have read this a dozen times before they finally put me in the dirt. I’ve got nothing but respect for Daniel Kraus, Guillermo del Toro and Trollhunters, one of the greatest novels ever written.
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