A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shane Hegarty's Darkmouth: The Legends Begin is a good-natured comic fantasy novel about a modern-day teen monster hunter, reminiscent of the work of Terry Pratchett. The violence is limited to a lot of crashing and banging into obstacles, without any real harm coming to anyone. Some monsters are rendered harmless by a weapon called a "Dessicator." The language is squeaky-clean, no one drinks, smokes, or takes drugs, and Finn is barely aware that he has a crush on Emmie.
What's the story?
From the start of DARKMOUTH: THE LEGENDS BEGIN, Finn isn't interested in becoming a legend hunter like his dad. As a soon-to-be protector of the town of Darkmouth, Finn must learn to defeat Minotaurs, Basilisks, and other dangerous magical and mythological creatures, but he has no talent for the task. As he continues his training, he learns secrets about his ancestors, develops a friendship with a new girl in town, and hears a prophecy that may spell his own doom.
Is it any good?
This tale of a reluctant teen monster hunter cleverly upends many of the clichés of middle-grade fantasy novels. In Darkmouth: The Legends Begin, Finn doesn't want to follow in his father's footsteps and instead thinks he might be more interested in being a veterinarian. Author Shane Hegarty devises magical conflicts that force the boy to act, and the mix of humor and action is well balanced. The dialogue is funny, the characters quirky, and the overarching narrative engrossing. The volume ends in a cliffhanger, and most readers will be eager to read the next installments.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the mythology in Darkmouth: The Legends Begin. How is ancient mythology still relevant to modern readers?
Why do some parents want their children to follow their professional paths? What should kids do if they don't want the same job as their mother or father?
How is violence depicted in Darkmouth? How does the mix of humor and horror add to the novel's appeal?
- Author: Shane Hegarty
- Illustrator: James de la Rue
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Harper
- Publication date: April 21, 2015
- Number of pages: 416
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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