BOOK REVIEWS

Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-05-28 
Review Score: 0 out of 5 star From 45 user ratings
ISBN:1984839233
LANGUAGE:English

"3-3.5 Stars
Initial thoughts:
I liked the cover, the colors drew me in. I was intrigued that it revolved around Hispanic mythology which is not something that I see often in fantasy or middle grade. I was, also, intrigued that it was being compared to The Lightning Thief and Story Thieves.

Pros:
I loved the pop culture references that were used in this book, there were X-Men, Superman, Pinocchio, and Anime references which I really enjoyed.
I also liked that Spanish was used in this book, this made it so unique and interesting from other books it definitely was a good touch.
The humor was good too, I found myself chuckling at certain points.
The mythology and legends were written well and they served a purpose for the book, they weren't just put in for fun, they were a main point in the book.
The characters were really good as well, they were all different and they had different voices. They were distinct and they didn't seem too similar to each other.
There is a bit of a role reversal in this book with the bully which I thought was a cool and unique touch too.
There is a Glossary in the book which was so helpful if you're not familiar with Hispanic mythology, it was super helpful and easy to use.
I liked the final battle, I thought it was great.
There was a great villain reveal.
Great focus on friendship, family, being unique, and love.
The book ended off at a good spot for, if there will be a book two, then it's a good spot to pick up on.

Cons:
There is the use of Spanish in this book, I put this in both Pros and Cons because if there is a reader that doesn't know Spanish words and phrases they might not understand some of the situations that are happening in the book.
All Caps in dialogue. This to me is a con because I was taught to never use all caps in a piece of writing because it looks amateurish. It didn't affect my reading experience, but it is noticeable.
There is a screaming dialogue. As in the character says AAAAHHH in his dialogue. It's not something that I liked, and they were again in all caps.
There were some spots that had a word for word repetition. It wasn't done frequently, but I did notice it.

Overall: I really enjoyed this book. I had more positive things than negative things to say about the book and if there is a second book, then, I wouldn't mind reading it.

Would I recommend it? Yes.
" said.

"Charlie Hernandez's world has turned upside down. His parents are missing and horns are growing out of his head. Say What? Could the Latin American myths that his abuela told him about actually be real?



He is placed in a foster home with weird Mrs. Wilson, an old lady that collects dolls. During middle school, Charlie does his best to hide his freaky outgrowths, including feathers and a lobster claw, but the school reporter, Violet Rey, uncovers the truth. Now she is sticking to him like clue as he tries to find out the mystery of his missing parents.



The truth ends up being stranger than fact, as Charlie and Violet begin encountering mythical creatures, some good and some out to get them. From El Cadejo, a supernatural dog that protects men to La Sihuanaba, a cursed queen that kills.



Charlie is thrown into an age old war between La Liga (The League of Shadows) and La Mano Peluda (the Hairy Hand). La Liga hopes that Charlie is the fabled Morphling, a being prophesied to come and save the world from darkness.



My Thoughts-

This middle grade book is a great intro into the world of Latin American myths and legends. Almost every chapter finds Charlie meeting something new, and he retells the story of the myths to Violet. You meet strange creatures with dark fates, plus a few good ones, like the Queen of Toledo, a witch who leads the League. At some points, I was a bit overwhelmed by just how many myths came flying my way.



That being said, the quick introductions of mythical creatures leaves the story going at a fast pace, adventure and struggles building upon each other. Kids will love the fast flow. Sometimes I found the characters seemed to be a bit older than middle school. Violet mentions taking AP Pre-Chemistry, which seems more high school, and the bully that picks on Charlie is way mean and seems to play sports at a varsity level. These mentions would throw me out of the story at times as I tried to picture these kids doing such advanced stuff.



Can I just say that the ending took me by surprise? I had no idea who the real villain was pretending to be. Creepy. I'm liking where this series is heading and I love the multi-cultural aspects. The book concludes with a mythical creature glossary so that you can figure out who is what. I'm giving this one 4 stars!

" said.

"I received an ARC for an honest review.

Charlie Hernandez’s parents are gone. While waiting at child services for placement, he discovers tiny horns sprouting from his head and recalls the stories his abuela told him night after night, especially those about the Morphling, the myth about a young hero who always defeats his nemesis—an evil twice-cursed witch—by manifesting some kind of an animal trait.

But those were just made up stories.

No longer sleeping at the police station, he’s placed temporarily with the elderly doll collector, Mrs. Wilson, and just when life begins to feel normal again, feathers sprout up all over his body—at middle school! Thinking fast, Charlie ditches into the office and finds a long-sleeve sparkly snow jacket in the lost and found. Wearing a ski jacket during the afternoon in Miami shouldn’t bring any unwanted attention.

Then he runs into Alice-the-Terrible, 6-foot-tall-fastball-crushing all-state softball player—and she wants the locket he’s wearing. The one thing he has left of his mother’s.

Not while Violet Rey is around—super-sleuth-school-newspaper-reporter—with the megawatt smile stops Alice in her tracks. The same girl he’s crushed on since first grade. Turns out, Violet has admired Charlie’s father, the animal geneticist, ever since his presentation on the harm in breeding dogs, she even used it for the school paper. Violet is very curious about his mother’s locket and knows it’s an antique (her father owns a pawn shop). Is there anything Violet doesn’t know? But it’s locked and Charlie’s unable to open it. Violet has a look and it clicks open in seconds. Inside, they find a miniature map, with the same horns and feather insignia Charlie sees everywhere.

Together, they make an unlikely team, and go underground with the tiny map, in search of answers to where Charlie’s parents are, and they come face to face with supernatural villains, myths and folklore from all over the Spanish-speaking world.
Conversations with a calaca, and La Llorona, the weeping woman, after following the glowing orbs of La Luz Mala, deep into the woods, among many others. Charlie discovers the stories his abuela told him were true. Was she preparing him?

An exciting, fast-paced Middle Grade adventure! With friends standing up for each other and working together. I loved Violet’s character and the skills she has when they’re needed and Charlie’s self-deprecating humor. Rich in cultural mythology, and so much fun! For further study of these fascinating tales, the glossary of Spanish folklore is a good starting point. Perfect for fans of Percy Jackson, or anyone who loves magic, adventure, and tracking down a mystery.


" said.

"With fast-paced adventure, this book steers through Central and South American myths in an exciting and fun frenzy.

Charlie is a middle-schooler, who was normal until his house burnt down and his parents disappeared. A couple of months later, and living in a foster home, his life gets really strange. Horns grow out of his head, feathers burst from his chest, and even more. If it wasn't for a sudden new friend, Violet, he might think he's loosing it. Her instincts as an investigative reporter have her more than willing to help him figure out what's happening and maybe, what happened to his parents. But neither of them expected to run face-to-face with practically every mythical creature Charlie's grandmother once taught him about. And most of them are not exactly friendly.

This is a whirl-wind adventure. The beginning reminds a bit of the Goonies but quickly steers into an extremely fast-paced adventure, reminding a bit of Rick Riordan's tales. Except in these pages, there is little time to catch a breath. Once the creatures start to appear, Charlie runs into one after another. The danger and tension fly nonstop as he and Violet try their best to figure out what is happening.

The story heads in the prophecy direction when it comes to Charlie, but it does take an interesting twist with the mounds of myths tossed in. For anyone not familiar with the myths, it's definitely a learning experience and opens up to the richness of these cultures. It also feels like jumping into cold water. With every new creature, the author builds in a very short summary to give the reader a quick glimpse behind the corresponding tale since many readers probably won't necessarily be familiar with them. But there are a lot of different myths built it. The creatures hit rapid fire, and while this definitely keeps the pace high, some pass by with a blink before the next one already swoops in. In any case, it is an exciting read that is sure to hold until the very last page.

Charlie and Violet make a wonderful duo, balancing each other with very different personalities. Charlie has the myth knowledge but is in a little over his head. Still, he does what needs to be done and reacts pretty well on his feet. Violet is gung-ho and more than ready to dive into any situation. Still, she keeps a good head on her shoulders and knows when to stop. The middle-schoolers do act a bit old for their age at times, but it reels back in during other scenes to keep it believable. Either way, it's fun and easy to root for Charlie and Violet until the very last page.

This is a fun adventure for action fans, and those who love reading tales of all those things hiding in the shadows. The myths are interesting and definitely an extra treat.

I received a complimentary copy and enjoyed diving into this read so much that I wanted to leave my honest thoughts.
" said.

" This was very delightful. I too would dress my best to meet a Witch Queen even if I was riding my bike there. " said.

" Charlie Hernández and the League of Shadows was a fun read! I really enjoyed seeing the Latinx and Hispanic mythological creatures on the page, many of whom I'd heard while growing up Colombian. I'm incredibly drawn to these stories and often write about them, so it was a pleasant surprise finding this book. My son enjoyed the adventure and the myths, too, and we're both looking forward to book 2! " said.

"A relatively fun fantasy/adventure romp. The highlight is its showcasing of myriad Hispanic myths and folk tales that span the spectrum from friend to foe. Calejo's writing is rather forced and contrived (do kids still say "blow chunks") and I didn't find the humor natural. I did like the super-competent sidekick Violet with her investigative skills along with the sprinkling of Spanish language casually inserted throughout. For fans of Percy Jackson or the Emerald Atlas. I feel like this is going to be the first in a series." said.

"First line: "Myths, my abuela used to say, are truths long forgotten by the world."

This book dives head first into action. In this forward momentum, there is no time for the main characters to doubt the fantastical world they uncover. Having just finished some rich, world-building adult fantasy, this was unsettling for me but will certainly be appealing for younger readers.

The female lead is problematic, falling into a young version of the manic pixie dream girl. She excels at everything she does, and she literally does everything. She is the captain of the cheerleading team, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, and head of the debate team. She is the prettiest girl in school, an amateur sleuth, and is unafraid to take a stand against bullies. It even took her 10 minutes to make cookies from scratch and put them in the oven. TEN. MINUTES.

With a thesaurus propped up next to the author as he wrote, the writing is slathered in synonyms and similes that sometimes dont make sense and there are a lot of logical fallacies that may be grating to young fantasy/sci fi fanatics. For example, Charlie throws an anchor out of a speeding cart and it catches something but a half second later, it snaps "like a shoelace." Within that half second, he manages to shout, "It worked! It actually worked!" I encourage you to try and say that in a half second.

Finally, the true villain that Charlie must face isn't properly introduced until the last 20 pages which makes for a slightly lackluster defeat.

Aaaaall this being said, I'm totally going to finish this book because the subject material is desperately needed and is amazing. Much to the delight of latinx children, Calejo includes an incredible amount of Hispanic folklore (and provides an index for those that are unfamiliar with the names), and uses Spanish words throughout (with natural translations for those that dont speak Spanish). I just wonder if I'm letting my adult brain impinge on my ability to imagine a child enjoying the book.
" said.

August 2019 New Book:

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