Digger Doyle’s Book of Real Monsters by Daniel Warriner

Digger Doyle’s Book of Real Monsters by Daniel Warriner
Publisher: BWL Publishing Inc.
Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (210 pages)
Age Recommendation:10+
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Digger Doyle was eight when his father set off on a secret adventure but did not return. Three years later, a page from his father’s ancient book is sent to Digger from northern Japan—a page only he can read. With his wild cousins, he sails to Japan and meets the super smart Yukiko Satori. Together they venture into the shadowy woods around the eerie Mount Osore to search for a ferocious creature called a Kappa and any clues as to the whereabouts of Digger’s father. The forest is dying. The river is poison. Animals are fleeing. Something is terribly wrong. Digger must face his deepest fears to stop it, and discovers that even when things seem gone in the dark, they are often still there.

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There were some truly magical creatures in this world. I liked the way the author spent time explaining their looks and abilities to the audience, especially since I don’t have a great deal of knowledge of Japanese and Asian folklore. It was nice to have such clear images of what these creatures were and why people reacted to them the way that they did. Some of the beasts were feared while others were deeply respected. They were all worth getting to know!

The pacing of this book was slow in the beginning. I struggled to remain interested in it until the plot picked up even though I was originally pretty interested in the subject matter. While I was grateful for the backstory and world building that were established early on, it sure would have been nice to have more action in the plot to keep my interest levels high until Digger’s adventures truly began.

One of the things I liked the most about this tale were the detailed, imaginative descriptions. Mr. Warriner painted such vivid pictures of the places Digger visited that I could see all of them perfectly clearly in my mind. It was like I was exploring those forests, rivers, and other places right beside him! They made me wonder what might happen next and if the places Digger visited would have even more surprises for him than I expected.

I’d recommend Digger Doyle’s Book of Real Monsters to anyone who enjoys adventure novels.

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