Del Toro Moon

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

Admittedly, I selected this book because I like the cover art and because of the Spanish words in the title. I kept reading it because I liked the story- which is saying a lot because I don’t usually enjoy fantasy books about slaying monsters. 
Del Toro Moon is a the story of a family of modern day cabelleros living in the Midwest. Our protagonist, 12 year old Matt, feels completely unprepared for his first battle with the skinners- vile, ferocious, wolf-like creatures that dine on humans. However, Matt receives guidance and protection from his trusty steed, El Cid. The horses in this story are characters in their own right and play a vital role in the book as well as the family. 
In this hero’s journey, Matt deals will the loss of a loved one, his first real crush, the hot and cold relationship between his brother and father, as well as feeling lonely and inadequate. Karchut has written an exciting book that I think will speak to many students. I will be adding Del Toro Moon to my classroom library, and offering it asa “book club” option in our Monomyth Unit.
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Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC! 

The cover and blurb about this book had me interested, and I was in the market for something to read. I was not disappointed! This tale of modern-day knights is new and fresh, and I loved the blend of the medieval myths that form the family history and the Hispanic culture that built the world for this book. If you love contemporary middle grade fantasy, but are looking for something different from what you've seen before, this is the right book for you.  

Each character, whether human or horse, shines with personality and the relationships between them are authentic and moving. The warhorses and knights are truly bound as a family, and like any true family, they have their strong personalities and the resulting squabbles. I appreciated that the arguments were always written in a way that ultimately strengthened the message and theme of the importance of family rather than detracting from it. The values of each character - especially those of Matt, Javier, and El Cid - are palpable on the page. 

As a reader, there was more I wanted to know about Ben (older brother) and Javier (father), not to mention the rest of the cast and crew, but I recognize that this was Matt's story and we see only as much as he can see and process. If Darby Karchut is looking to expand this world with more books, I am ready and eager to read! That said, while there is definitely plenty of room for expansion, this book is satisfying as a stand-alone adventure. The pacing wastes no time and every moment and exchange adds to the story and relationship development. It's not one of those books that you finish and then flip over, looking to see if you missed that it's actually supposed to be a trilogy. 

Matt's coming of age struggle is written in a manner that is accessible, relatable, and true to his age-group. He tackles his issues of wanting to be taken seriously and lacking experience with tact and a good deal of "I think I can." I will be happy to have him and his story of growth and family in my classroom so that he can reach into the hearts of our children who need that feel-good message most (and won't take it unless it's wrapped in excitement, of course).
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