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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Book Review: Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom

Krampus: The Yule Lord
by Brom
357 pages
Published October 30th 2012
by Harper Voyager
Santa Claus, my dear old friend, you are a thief, a traitor, a slanderer, a murderer, a liar, but worst of all you are a mockery of everything for which I stood. You have sung your last ho, ho, ho, for I am coming for your head. . . . I am coming to take back what is mine, to take back Yuletide . . .
—from Krampus

The author and artist of The Child Thief returns with a modern fabulist tale of Krampus, the Lord of Yule and the dark enemy of Santa Claus
One Christmas Eve, in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, a failed songwriter named Jesse witnesses a strange spectacle: seven thugs cloaked in black attacking a man in a red suit with a sleigh. When Jesse steps in to help, the mysterious figures all disappear, leaving behind a large sack – a magical bag that will plunge the down-on- his luck singer into a twisted adventure. The bag is the property of Krampus, trickster, a devil who punishes the wicked – and who asserts that he is Jesse’s master, one who will teach him the truth about the cherry-cheeked, jolly old fellow who imprisoned Krampus for five centuries and usurped the pagan god’s own magic. Now, the former Yule Lord has broken free, and is determined to destroy his enemy and reclaim his holiday.

With wild magic running loose in the darkest corners of Appalachia, Jesse may be able to salvage his dreams and create a new future for his daughter…and all the children of the land.

Let's talk about this cover! I wanted to read this based on that alone and was thrown a bit when I actually read the blurb...Santa and Krampus drop into a small town town in West Virginia? Yup. But back to the cover. I got a perverse pleasure reading this one in public so people could see the cover. Oh, the looks. And not only is the cover great. There are color illustrations of the characters inside! Beautiful artwork by the author. Not sure how they translate on the kindle though. Here are three of the main characters. Check out Santa and his wife.

This story is a contemporary fantasy which is different from my normal urban fantasy. We can discuss the difference another time. Anyway...the story is a bit over edited in order to mainstream it for the masses, so it took a while for me to connect with the characters instead of just watching the events unfold. Except for Krampus. I immediately felt sympathy for this flawed anti-hero and how he embraced who he was, and then his heart break when he realizes there might not be place in this new world for him. I think we all have a little Krampus in us.

Brom takes two prominent folk lore characters, Norse mythology, Pagan beliefs and blends them up and then pours them on top of a small town with corrupt law enforcement. It was a little slow at first (except for parts with Krampus), but about half way through I was caught up in the old feud between Santa and Krampus and how our protagonist Jessie was going to survive the supernatural s*** storm that hits him at the same time his personal problems become life threatening.

I really enjoyed the afterword Brom included explaining how he came up with the idea. It is a clever and unique story and worth a read.

3 1/2 "Time to be bad" Sheep


About the Author:
Born in the deep dark south in the mid-sixties. Brom, an army brat, spent his entire youth on the move and unabashedly blames living in such places as Japan, Hawaii, Germany, and Alabama for all his afflictions. From his earliest memories Brom has been obsessed with the creation of the weird, the monstrous, and the beautiful.

At age twenty, Brom began working full-time as a commercial illustrator in Atlanta, Georgia. Three years later he entered the field of fantastic art he’d loved his whole life, making his mark developing and illustrating for TSR’s bestselling role-playing worlds.

He has since gone on to lend his distinctive vision to all facets of the creative industries, from novels and games, to comics and film. Most recently he's created a series of award winning horror novels that he both writes and illustrates: “The Plucker”, an adult children’s book, “The Devil’s Rose”, a modern western set in Hell, “The Child Thief”, a gritty, nightmarish retelling of the Peter Pan myth, and his latest concoction, "Krampus, the Yule Lord", a tale of revenge between Krampus and Santa set in rural West Virginia.

Brom is currently kept in a dank cellar somewhere in the drizzly Northwest. There he subsists on poison spiders, centipedes, and bad kung-fu flicks. When not eating bugs, he is ever writing, painting, and trying to reach a happy sing-a-long with the many demons dancing about in his head.

1 comment:

  1. Love the concept AND that cover! Made me giggle to think about you reading it in public -- good for you! I'll definitely check this one out!