Summary:One Christmas Eve in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, struggling songwriter Jesse Walker witnesses a strange spectacle: seven devilish figures chasing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight reindeer. When the reindeer leap skyward, taking the sleigh, devil men, and Santa into the clouds, screams follow. Moments later, a large sack plummets back to earth, a magical sack that thrusts the down-on-his-luck singer into the clutches of the terrifying Yule Lord, Krampus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse’s new master reveals many dark secrets about the cherry-cheeked Santa Claus, including how half a millennium ago the jolly old saint imprisoned Krampus and usurped his magic.
Now Santa’s time is running short, for the Yule Lord is determined to have his retribution and reclaim Yuletide. If Jesse can survive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem himself in his family’s eyes, to save his own broken dreams, … and to help bring the magic of Yule to the impoverished folk of Boone County.
Final Rating:♥♥♥ / ♥♥♥♥♥
Please don’t judge me. While I see other people getting into the festive, Christmasy mood with warm, sweet, holiday romances and fluffy, vanilla reads, I decided to pick up Krampus: a story of an ancient rivalry between Santa Claus and Krampus. For most of the story, we are given the impression that Santa is the one in the wrong, but as the story progresses, we see that things may not be as black-and-white as they seem.
So yes, while everybody reads normal Christmas reads, I do not. Deal with it, okay?
I haven’t read anything like this before. I’m not a Christian, and I don’t celebrate Christmas as a non-religious holiday either, so I’m not familiar with the lore, the legend, the religious sentiment surrounding it. So when I picked this up, I didn’t really know what to expect. I enjoyed the story. I thought the premise was interesting, and I thought the intertwinement of our human character, Jesse, and the ‘devilish’ creatures was very well done. I will say that more than the rivalry between Krampus and Santa, I liked the story revolving around Jesse and his family a lot more.
I liked Jesse’s character. I thought he was very real. He wasn’t overly heroic, nor was he indestructible. He wasn’t overly dramatic, nor was he glamorized. He was what he was. He was human, dominated by human nature- perhaps one of the most genuinely real characters I’ve read recently. But that was about it. I was intrigued by the General’s character, but the development never really went anywhere. I was intrigued with Krampus’s sidekicks, but I never got any background for them, except Isabel.
But my main problem was with Krampus himself. His character was such a joke! I expected him to be mega-evil, mega-badass, ruthless, cruel, ambitious and driven by a desire for bloody revenge. All of these attributes (vices?) existed, but were played down to a level where it was ridiculous. I found it very hard to take Krampus’s character seriously. It was kind of comical, really. Not what the author had in mind, I imagine.
Brom is talented. His art was beautiful, and his overall ability to take something so festive and lovely, and twist into something dark, gruesome and gritty is commendable. I have heard a ton of good things about his The Child Thief, and I will pick it up in the near future. Maybe that will do what this book couldn’t for me.
Would I recommend? Not really.
Would I re-read? No.