This enticing new series features a young boy, Sam London, who appears to be connected in some way to mythical creatures. A dream sends him off to discover the meaning and he gets a brief first meeting with the majestic gryphon known as Phylassos—part lion-part eagle.
The Department of Mythical Creatures (an unknown government agency) is the source of the files about these creatures. Before I jumped into the adventure I checked out the glossary. This is where each beast is described (As an example: The Chupacabra’s favorite food is blood and has the worst breath ever).
After getting up to date on all the creatures I began reading the tale. According to the author, the third person narrative of Sam’s first file is a dramatic interpretation since the real file is just too dry and fact laden. It’s a fun start to the story and its many characters. Most of the twenty chapters end with a nice cliff hanger, making you want to turn the page for more.
Great for lovers of magical realism and more advanced MG readers, the continuation of the series will serve to build interest in the plot line. Sam and his supposedly same aged Guardian, Tashi (pictured on the cover), are sure to have even more dangerous encounters.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017 PAGE COUNT: 384
FULL PLOT (From Amazon) A new action adventure series set in our famous national parks! Enter the world of the Department of Mythical Wildlife, where our protagonist, Sam London, is tasked with protecting legendary animals that secretly live amongst our treasured wildlife.
Haunted by a dream of a mythical gryphon, Sam London uncovers an ancient secret that will change the way he sees the world forever. Recruited by Dr. Vance Vantana, an eccentric zoologist and park ranger sent by the government, Sam is whisked away on an adventure that takes him to the farthest reaches of the globe. Along this journey, Sam learns an incredible truth: mythical creatures are real and living among us in our national parks. A special department in the U.S. government ensures that their existence remains hidden.
But Sam’s dream is an omen that the secret may now be in danger. Someone seeks the power to expose these creatures and overthrow humankind—and that power can only be found in a magical talisman known as the gryphon’s claw.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: THE GUARDIANS OF THE GRYPHON’S CLAW by Todd Calgi Gallicano
- Not all creatures are scary beasts. I especially enjoyed the trolls and the Cynocephalus, a dog like creature with enhanced senses.
- The story takes you on a journey across the world. We don’t learn too much about these places as this first case is all about the creatures and other characters.
- The story sticks with one character through a dramatic scene then backtracks and you see the scene from another character’s perspective. Interesting and effective story telling.
- The accompanying website (U.S. Department of Mythical Creatures) almost had me believing you’d find their offices in Washington D.C.
- I kept envisioning this as a movie. A compliment to the writing and the pictures it put in my head.
As Sam prepared to follow through, his attention was caught by a glint on the horizon. He didn’t know what it was, but it was headed right for him. It started as a speck against the expansive blue sky, approaching from the other side of the valley. It grew closer, and Sam stood transfixed. He squinted to try to enhance his vision. The speck was soon large enough to make out. It was a gryphon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
When he’s not hammering out the next Sam London novel on his 1938 Royal Deluxe typewriter, Mr. Gallicano enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. He resides with his family in North Carolina, where he is constantly on the lookout for gargoyles, chupacabras and other nefarious creatures.
(For more about Todd and his cast of mythical creatures, visit the very real DMC website (Department of Mythical Creatures).
Make a comment below if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.