Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Happy Book Birthday, Charlie Hernandez and the Golden Dooms by Ryan Calejo!

I'm a little late today...okay, very late...in getting this celebration going, but there's no way I'm going to forget to scream out something fun like a book birthday. This one is the third in a fantasy series for upper middle graders, which takes Southern American folklore into an adventure, which reminds of the Percy Jackson series just a little bit....a tinsy-tiny-really-not-quite bit. Yep, I've been following this series from the beginning, so I kind of know what to expect. And it is good...or I wouldn't have agreed to take a peek.

Ready for some meetings with death, morphing, mystery and more? 

by Ryan Calejo
Aladdin Publishing
Middle Grade Fantasy
384 pages
ages 8 to 12

Inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America, this third book in the Charlie Hernández series follows Charlie as he fights against an army of the dead.

After hitchhiking across Central and South America to rescue the Witch Queen and face off against La Mano Peluda, Charlie Hernández is pretty much grounded for life. But after all he’s been through, some quiet time at home with his parents might be nice. Though it would be better if he didn’t have to share his room with his obnoxiously perfect cousin Raúl, who’s staying with them.

But quiet is hard to come by when you’re the fifth and final morphling, and it’s not long before death walks back into Charlie’s life. Or at least, the dead do, starting with a mysterious young calaca who corners him at school, dropping cryptic hints about trouble brewing in the 305. With the League of Shadows focused on repairing fractured alliances and tracking gathering armies, this one’s up to Charlie to solve.

Following the clues only leads to more questions, and not even teenage investigative journalist extraordinaire Violet Rey can figure out how a sudden rooster infestation, earthquakes, missing persons, and a pet-napping gang of lizard-men—whom Charlie doesn’t recognize from any legend—are all connected. Most concerning of all is when they learn a map has been stolen that reveals the locations of the Golden Dooms, the twelve ancient calaca watchmen who form the magical barrier between the realms.

To stop the impending invasion, Charlie and Violet must outwit an ancient evil and unravel the most sinister of schemes. That is, unless they’d rather watch the Land of the Living get overrun by the dead.

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59363863-charlie-hern-ndez-the-golden-dooms
BOOKSHOP: https://bookshop.org/books/charlie-hernandez-the-golden-dooms/9781534484214
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/?ean=9781534484214
AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Charlie-Hern%C3%A1ndez-Golden-Dooms-3/dp/1534484213


Hispanic folklore meets fast-paced adventure with a twist of mystery and more than a few dabs of humor to create a fun read.

Charlie is grounded after the last adventure and definitely not ready to get him mother even more angry than before. But monsters and ancient evil isn't going to sit down and wait for his mother to relax. Forced into a girl's bathroom at school by a dead girl, a new mystery begins, and this time, evil is more determined than ever to stake its claim.

This is the third book in the series, and while it isn't too hard to launch off into the story from here, it does build from the other books and should be read as a series and not as a stand-alone.

While every book up until now has been adventurous, this one seems to notch up the pace even a hair more. Charlie starts out the first chapter very babbly with a waterfall of scattered thoughts, but then, he is facing a beautiful, yet very dead girl in a locked bathroom...and still finding footing after his last adventure. Luckily, he quickly settles into his usual groove and is off on another mission. Of course, his group of friends are there, too, and more than ready (actually more excited than him) to solve the next problem. Thanks to the first two books, the characters now feel familiar, making it fun to simply dive into the adventure with them...like old friends.

There are new characters as well and some changing relationship dynamics. Charlie's taking some interest in Violet, but this remains gentle and age appropriate. The biggest change comes when a cousin moves in and even shares a bedroom with Charlie. I did enjoy the cousin's vibrant personality, since it does add a new flair to the bunch.  

A large cast of creatures from the Hispanic folklore is also included, old as well as a few new. As usual, the author slides this cultural aspect in seamlessly. There were one or two creatures, which made me stop and wish there'd been a bit more about them (curious to learn more about the myths surrounding them), but most come across with just the right amount of description and background to introduce them before heading off into more excitement. 

Charlie is never given a moment's rest as he zips from one creature to the next, constantly heads into dangerous situations, and never knows where he'll be taken next. It's probably my favorite book in the series so far.

And here he is...

Ryan Calejo is the author of the Charlie Hernández series. He was born and raised in south Florida, where he graduated from the University of Miami with a BA. He teaches swimming to elementary school students, chess to middle school students, and writing to high school students. Having been born into a family of immigrants and growing up in the so-called “Capital of Latin America,” Ryan knows the importance of diversity in our communities and is passionate about writing books that children of all ethnicities can relate to.

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