Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows (1)

Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows (1)
Age Range
Release Date
October 23, 2018
Buy This Book
“This is a perfect pick for kids who love Rick Riordan’s many series, particularly for those eager for mythologies beyond Greek and Roman stories.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A winner for all kids, but it will be especially beloved by Latinx and Hispanic families.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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 Hernández 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.

Editor review

1 review
Rising Hero
Overall rating
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Charlie Hernández thought he was an ordinary boy growing up in a loving family but things have taken a turn in recent months. One day while he was with friends, his house burned to the ground and his parents disappeared. Now he is staying with an elderly neighbor who has weird dolls and a lot of leftover children’s toys that she sells. The real clencher is when he starts manifesting strange body parts, a horn, then feathers, and lastly a lobster claw.
These manifestations have him questioning the tales his abuela told him as a boy of the Latin myths that might not be so made up after all. These manifestations also lead to some humorous and embarrassing run-ins at middle school, where no one wants to be seen as different anyway.
Violet Ray wants to be an investigative reporter when she is older. She is smart enough to realize strange things are going on with Charlie. With her help, they undergo many dangerous situations to find the truth about his destiny and his parent’s fate. Their interactions are endearing and a great foundation for a future relationship to grow.
This book was intriguing with the Latin American mythos seamlessly woven into the fabric of the tale. It is engaging for people within and from outside the Latin culture. I do wish Charlie’s worry and heartbreak over his parent's disappearance were emphasized a bit more. He was strikingly pleasant and ready for this adventure for someone who has experienced so many changes that it felt less realistic to me during the setup of the story. Overall, it was humorous and the characters captured the middle school mentality. I look forward to the next book in the series.
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