I was really looking forward to this fun horror adventure, particularly just as things are starting to get seasonal in our household, and I wasn’t disappointed at all. The whole Krampus myth has enjoyed something of a popularity spurt in recent years, in books and films, and this version is no bandwagon passenger; it is as good an atmospheric, contemporary telling of the tale as you are likely to see, bringing to mind a couple of recent movies on the monster, which were actually a great deal better than you might expect. Just like them, this book is good, very good, and I enjoyed every moment of it.
Krampusnacht is a wonderfully festive modern take on the tale, and just the ticket for the long winter nights which have suddenly come upon us; you are advised to read it as I did: beside a fireplace and a Christmas tree. Set on the darkly traditional “Krampus night” in December, when the naughty kids discover their fate in a picturesque, snowy Austrian mountain forest village, it has all the ingredients you love to see: a truly evil monster, his demonic little helpers and a formidable snowstorm. But, there is also a contemporary twist on the storyline, as the subjects of the beast’s attention are a group of remorseful school bullies, who have weaponized social media to torment their victim. She, in turn, has summoned the monster for her night of revenge. This is not bloodthirsty creature-horror, but rather a chilly, slick adventure scare, with a very modern social commentary – which is, thankfully, not spread too thickly.
Still, in this respect, it does have something of a Young Adult feel about it, and I have to admit I did groan slightly when the main protagonist was revealed as a vampire from a secret network, bemoaning the fact that every YA fantasy I receive these days seems to be about one or both of these things; I thought that these elements brought very little to this particular book. In fact, I will further admit that this might have cost half a star from my rating. But, in truth, Krampusnacht isn’t YA – the language is a little too raw, and there is a surprising level of intelligence in Drummond’s excellent writing. As I started to suspect, I later discovered that the whole Huntsman’s Network backstory indeed seemed the foundation of a book series involving the monster-hunting group.
Putting the series aside, what is left here is a superb and gripping Christmas thriller, which is a great deal of fun for most readers. It is most definitely a very worthy take on the cautionary creature legend, and indeed the best fiction I have read in quite a while. If you like fantasy, horror, YA or simple suspense, you’ll love it; if not, you’ll just like it a lot! James Drummond is without doubt an author of real smarts and quality, and the story he has crafted here is a work of creative talent. He is articulate, clearly educated and knowledgeable – and even manages to weave a devastating social message. He has researched the myths in this book thoroughly, and I learnt a thing or two I didn’t know about Krampus. I highly recommend this book, and I really look forward to reading more from its fine author.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: james-drummond festive horror thriller suspense krampus monster creature young-adult