Thursday, October 18, 2018

Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo

e-ARC, 256 pages
Release Date: October 23, 2018
Published by: Aladdin
Read from: October 13-16,2018
Source: Edelweiss (I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss and the Publisher in exchange for a just and honest review. This did nothing to influence my review.) 
For fans of: Diverse Characters, Mythology, Fantasy, Adventure, MG

     The Lightning Thief meets the Story Thieves series in this middle grade fantasy inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America.
     Charlie Hern├índez has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie’s always been a pragmatist. Even barely out of diapers, he knew the stories were just make-believe—nothing more than intricately woven fables meant to keep little kids from misbehaving.
     But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations—ones all too similar to those described by his grandma in his favorite legend—he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he’s spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself.
     Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet Rey, and his grandmother’s stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn’t possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what’s happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world).
     No pressure, muchacho.


      For the most part I enjoyed this, but it seemed like it was missing quite a bit of something. With names drops like The Lightning Thief and The Story Thieves I was expecting so much more. I wanted to love this so much more than I did because I had been waiting on this for a very long time.
"So- what are you...?" she asked finally. "What do you mean what am I snapped. "I'm a real boy. A real boy!" "She put her hands up. Easy there, Pinocchio. I was only asking."
     Charlie Hernandez has lived a very normal life up until recently. His parents have disappeared and some pretty weird things have started happening to him. His long-time crush sees that something's going on with him and together they try to make sense of it. It turns out that the situation is much bigger than either one of them thought. The stories that Charlie's grandmother used to tell him are actually true and Charlie has to fight them to save his parents and the world.
"If you look hard enough, muchacho, you can find paradise even in the darkest places."
     With title drops like The Lightning Thief, I was expecting to LOVE this. I eagerly anticipated this because of the different twist on mythology, so all of this rolled into one should have been a recipe to become a favorite of mine. However, that's not what happened. It just felt like it was missing something. I probably wouldn't say that if I hadn't JUST read another book on Hispanic mythology last month, but that one stood out more to me. Don't get me wrong, we need both, but this one just felt plain and generic.
"See, the Morphling represents hope, and they cannot allow hope to spread, hence, they cannot allow the Morphling to live."
     As for the mythology aspect, I wish that he had given a little more information about each god and goddess and their background. In the book he passed over them and their myth.With them being from all over Central America, I would have appreciated learning a bit more about the background of each and why he chose to pick those gods/goddesses.
"But, like, what am I supposed to do now? "My advice is simple," he said softly. "Do everything within your power to stay alive."
     I think had I not just read something so close to this, I would have probably enjoyed this one more. However, this one just did not stand out as much to me. It was unfortunate since it's about all Hispanic myths and stories instead of focusing on just one aspect of their culture. However, this is still a read you should pick up.Give it a read and see what you think of it!
Overall, I give this


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