*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has in no way influenced my review.*
No preamble, I’m just going to jump right into this review with some lists.
Things I Liked:
– It was a Christmas-themed fantasy. There aren’t a lot of those.
– It had a unique and dark take on the legends of Santa and Krampus.
Things I Disliked:
– Stereotypes galore. The jocks were stupid and mean. The artsy girl had purple hair. The band geeks and smart people played D&D. You get the drift.
– Charity was one of the most unlikable protagonists I’ve ever read about. She kept talking about how judgmental and prejudiced all the other people were, but she was just as judgmental and prejudiced, only about different things. She said people who believe in God are gullible. She lumped every athletic person, except Ricardo, together and just constantly insulted and stereotyped them. She didn’t want to be seen with Aidan in the beginning because she thought he was weird. At first I thought maybe she was made unlikable on purpose so that she could grow over the course of the book, but, other than her opinion toward Aidan, she didn’t seem to change.
– I’m all for diversity in books, so it was great that Charity was atheist and biracial, but it was like the author wanted to make sure no one ever forgot those things for even 60 seconds. For example, any time the word God or Devil or Heaven or Hell was mentioned, even in a casual way in common phrases, anytime Charity happened to see someone praying or hear someone mention prayer, etc., she made sure to remind the reader yet again how she didn’t believe in those things. It doesn’t matter what religion or non-religion or ethnicity or anything the character is, I’m happy to read about it as it pertains to the story and affects the character, but I don’t want forced reminders on every other page.
– On a similar note, she was into engineering and science, which was also great, but the way it was written it was like all science all the time to the point that you would think she’d break out in hives if she were even in the same room as a colored pencil or anything related to any other type of interest. It just felt like another exaggerated stereotype.
– Speaking of exaggerated, that also describes a lot of the characters’ behaviors and things that happened.
– Instalove. “You mean more to me than my entire life and I would die for you” within a week of meeting type instalove.
So overall this was a great idea for a story involving the Santa and Krampus legends, and it was great that there was diversity, but the stereotypes, the exaggeration, and judgmental protagonist made it ultimately not work for me.
Young adult readers looking for a darkish Christmas-themed fantasy book who don't mind the issues I pointed out in my review.