I went into this expecting horror about an evil Krampus monster. What I got instead was a YA Christmas mystery adventure with a unique spin on the legend of St. Nick and the ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas poem.
And I was so pleasantly surprised! I didn’t think teens on a mystery adventure was my thing, but I really liked this book! It caught my interest quickly, and then, as soon as they were in the underground city of Poppel, I was hooked.
The descriptions of Poppel, the story behind it, the concept—it was all very fantastical and magical. Especially when they first got there, I felt like I had stepped into some eerie yet strangely quaint, alternate North Pole town, complete with sleigh pulleys, cobblestone streets, and colorful, little shops. I loved it.
But the characters were soon swept up into the tyrannical rule of the Garrisons (the men in charge), their unethical doings, their mistreatment of the Foundlings (the orphans taken to work there), and the darkness surrounding the legend of Saint Nicholas. It was interesting and kept me turning pages. And the pacing was spot on, never overwhelming, but never dragging either.
While I didn’t connect to any of the characters on a deep level, they were the type who were fun to read about and who really had me rooting for them.
There were too many likeable ones to mention them all, but Clemmie was my favorite. He was a bit of a pompous jerk in the beginning, but his sarcasm was hilarious, and, by the end, he had proven himself to be a good person. Maggie and her sister, Catherine, were great too, both headstrong and spirited. Also, one of the things I hate most is when one person is getting attacked and the others just stand there uselessly, so I cheered every time the girls stepped in to help in those types of situations. I also liked Ward who seemed so grouchy at first but then ran around with his awesome candy weapons, doing more than his part to help.
There were even some sweet family elements since most of the main characters were siblings and cousins, and they looked out and cared for each other.
“You’re not actually going down there?”
“Of course, I am,” snapped Catharine. “Someone has our sister. And much to their future suffering, I am going after her.”
And with that, she jumped into darkness.
Overall, this was a fun adventure that’s perfect for the holiday season but can probably be enjoyed year-round, and I look forward to the next book!
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.
Book Author: Sonia Halbach
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Series: The Krampus Chronicles
Genre: Christmas, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Holidays, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
My Book Rating: 4
Series/Standalone: Part of a Series
Setting Location: New York, USA