Friday, December 4, 2015
Christmas Horror? - Maybe a Tad
AUTHOR: Sonia Halbach
PUBLISHER: Curiosity Quills Press
PUBLISHING DATE: November 4, 2015
FROM GOODREADS: Fourteen-year-old Maggie Ogden thinks she knows everything there is to Grandfather Clement Clarke Moore and his legendary poem,’Twas the Night Before Christmas. But all this changes Christmas Eve 1854 when Chelsea Manor receives an unexpected visitor - Henry Livingston; who’s searching for evidence to prove that his grandfather, Major Henry, is the true author of the famous holiday poem.
The night takes a strange turn when Maggie and Henry come across another intruder in Chelsea Manor. After following the peculiar boy down a secret opening within the fireplace and through an underground tunnel full of mechanical sleighs, Maggie and Henry discover Poppel, a hidden village under New York City.
Faced with the deadly challenges presented by the legend of The Three Sisters, Maggie and Henry are forced to play by Poppel’s rules and those who run the cursed village. And they quickly learn that not only is leaving Poppel harder than arriving, but there are even more dangerous lies and mysterious truths to Clement Clarke Moore, Christmas, and a menacing creature called Krampus than anyone could have known.
MY THOUGHTS: I have been looking forward to reading this book since I first learned of it and actually bought a copy on the day it was released. Maybe I am falling into all of the Krampus hype (he does seem to be everywhere this holiday season) but I couldn't wait to dive into this once Thanksgiving passed.
While I went into this thinking "scary, Christmas horror story" it was more of a mystery/adventure tale. Maggie's grandfather is Clement Clarke Moore, the creator of "Twas Night Before Christmas"...or was he? Maggie meets Henry, who claims his father actually wrote the piece and while the entire extended family is gathered at Moore's home in 1854, he confronts the grumpy old man, angering the whole family. After everyone goes to sleep on Christmas Eve, Henry breaks in the home, Maggie spies him, and then together the see a young child climb down the furnace/chimney duct. So what do they do? They follow him of course and are transported to the magical land of Poppel, a cursed Christmas village, where they set about saving the Foundlings (child-like slaves) and the town from evil.
This book is rich with Christmas lore. Drawing its inspiration from the beloved Christmas poem, the reader encounters all kinds of magical Christmas elements. I especially enjoyed the enchanted sugarplums which are used to send the person eating them secret messages. There were a few slower points in the book, but for the most part, it is pretty action-packed.
My main disappointment just happened to be the main reason I picked the book up to begin with - Krampus. He makes an appearance or two, but really isn't a huge player in the tale. However, I will say that the ending of the book, which I assume is a trilogy, sets the way for a big appearance from him in the next installment.
I am not a "traditional" Christmas gal and this book really changed the pace on my holiday reading. I believe this is the author's first novel and I enjoy her style and pacing. I also respect the amount of research she must have put into this work due to all the historical and literary references - yet she made the story her own. I will definitely be looking out for the next in this series and if you are looking to shake up Christmas a little, I would recommend you pick up this book.
RATING: 4 PAWS