“Beneath the vast volcanic lakes / Beneath the fiery core, / An ancient, ageless Evil wakes / And starts to rise once more.” This poem sets the tone for a horror tale that offers middle-graders a fast, compelling read.
On the night of the Draconid meteor shower, trolls hungry for human flesh invade the rural town of Zion Falls. Four youngsters—Louise, Pablo, Zak and Thora—are saved by a three-armed man, Dr. Hoo, who predicts that they have magical powers that will save the world. The story mixes trolls from the Norse tradition with constellations from Greco-Roman mythology. Atmosphere builds with changing landscapes: Peaceful countryside morphs to menacing, while the trolls’ underground home is a terrifying inferno. The four kids chosen as heroes have distinct characters and magical powers; other people merely serve the plot. The climax provides surprises and a bittersweet ending. Black-and-white illustrations add to the horror and mood of the story. Compulsive plot, non-stop action and the battle between modern-day good and ancient evil attract boys and girls alike, and the fast-moving narrative, lots of suspense and cumulating violence will keep them reading.
A page-turner. (Horror. 10-13)