*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.
You know I kinda like this cover and I kinda don’t- I’m torn on it. Not that that has anything to do with the book, but you know… 🙂 It’s kinda catchy but abstract too? I don’t know. Anyway Christmas and fantasy. Definitely a rare breed. I am SO sick of the stereotypes though- I mean, it’s 2016 and everything is still dumb jocks/ purple haired art girl, etc. Can’t we mix it up a little?? So yeah. And I hate to say this but sometimes it seems like authors are going crazy with just how diverse they can make the book- I mean, there is trying too hard. LOL about the instalove. Cause THAT’s so realistic *SMH*
Still, evil take on Santa? But yeah don’t think this one’s for me either.
Lol it’s not my favorite cover, but I can see why people like it. It does have a cool abstract thing going. I really did like the Christmas + fantasy and the concept behind it all, but yeah, I just couldn’t handle the stereotypes. And I agree that there is such thing as trying too hard. It’s great to include diversity, but not if the purpose is to just shove it at the reader over and over.
Well, that’s sad. I can’t stand stereotypes in books. People are deeper than that. The idea of a Christmas themed fantasy book is interesting though. I rather like the cover too. Great review!
Yeah, I did really like the story idea, but not so much the stereotypes :-/ Thanks!
I laughed when I saw the difference in the “liked” and “disliked” categories. It certainly isn’t balanced. 😀 But I can totally understand your issues.
It is a little unbalanced, isn’t it? Just a little 😛 Though to be fair, sometimes lists can look unbalanced but then the smaller side still has more weight. Unfortunately this one was more of a dislike for me though.
Soooo yeah, it has a pretty cool cover, but that had nothing to do with the content of the book. I SOOOO DO NOT LIKE when authors feel the need to keep repeating petty things like that just to get us to remember them. I definitely know how you feel. And as far as all of the stereotypes and INSTA-LOVE. No TANK YOU.
It is an interesting cover, but yeah I just got tired of being reminded of her diversity at times when it just seemed forced. And the stereotypes and instalove were frustrating.
I started reading this one last night but only got to Chapter Three. Your’s isn’t the first mixed review I’ve seen so at least my eyes are open. It’s just so hard to find Christmas books that aren’t always touchy-feely romances – although I have a COUPLE of those on my TBR for next month. At least you found a few good things about it.
So far all the reviews I’ve seen have been people who loved it. I feel like the odd one out lol. Did you get any further yet? I know of a few non-romancey Christmas books, planning on reposting a review for one next week or so that I really liked. But yeah, I did at least think the story in this one was good!
I’m about 50% in now. It’s a quick read and like you, I like the diversity and its uniqueness. However, I detest insta-love so I’m finding that aspect extremely irritating.
Yeah, it’s a pretty extreme case of instalove :-/
Oh man, how did you get through this? It sounds so frustrating! (But gah, beautiful cover BEAUTIFUL!)
It was frustrating :-/ But it did at least have a good story, so that kept me going!
Gah, I hate when people go over the top with making sure they show a character’s differences (like this one being a biracial and an atheist). State it once and occasionally mention if relevant at that time do not refer to it constantly! And it sucks that the trap of stereotypes happened. I get a stereotype has some basis from summat but it’s not true for everyone and it’s annoying to do that. This is definitely a book to miss but it sounded interesting.
Exactly. Like, there was one scene when someone said they’d been praying and she was the answer to their prayers, and I could completely understand her feeling uncomfortable and thinking about her atheism there. But all the other times? Not so much. And stereotypes do have some basis usually, but yeah this was too much.
I can’t think of many fantasy Christmas themed stories, those definitely seem rare, although I know some authors do novella’s with a Christmas theme. I know some stereotypes are base din part in the truth, but I don’t like it when a book feels like it has too much stereotypes as it easily can become too much.
It’s hard to enjoy a book when you dislike a main character so much. I don’t like reading about the judgemental types. And this main character really sounds difficult to like. Too bad there was little change in her attitude as the book progressed. I don’t mind an unlikeable character as much if they change later on. It’s nice the character had some unique trait,s but if it gets forcibly reminded so often it gets old quick. I can see why you didn’t enjoy this one as much even while it had some good parts as well.
They are rare which is why I was so excited about this one. But yeah, even though stereotypes are based on truth, there’s definitely such thing as too much.
Yeah, it’s really hard to like a book when you dislike the MC as much as I disliked this one. I too can like a character if she grows over the course of the book, but nope, that didn’t seem to happen in this one. I mean, she might’ve grown some, but not in ways that changed my opinion of her.