Review: Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom

krampus_brom

About Krampus: The Yule Lord

Santa Claus, my dear old friend, you are a thief, a traitor, a slanderer, a murder, 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 to take your head. I am coming to take back what is mine, to take back Yuletide...

The author and artist of The Child Thief returns with a modern fabulist tale of Krampus, the Lord of Yule and mortal enemy of Santa Claus.

One Christmas Eve in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, struggling songwriter Jesse Walker witnesses a strange spectacle: seven devilish figures chasing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight reindeer. When the reindeer leap skyward taking the sleigh, devil men, and Santa into the clouds, screams follow. Moments later, a large sack plummets earthward, a magical sack that will thrust the down-on-his luck singer into the clutches of the terrifying Yule Lord, Krampus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse's new master reveals many dark secrets about the cherry-cheeked Santa Claus, and how half a millennium ago, the jolly old saint imprisoned Krampus and usurped his magic.

Now Santa's time is running short, for the Yule Lord is determined to have his retribution and reclaim Yuletide. If Jesse can survive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem himself to his family, to save his own broken dreams...and help bring the magic of Yule to the impoverished folk of Boone County.


About the Author

Over the past decades, Brom has lent his distinctive visions and artwork to all facets of the creative industries, from novels and games, to comics and film. He is also the author of a series of award-winning illustrated horror novels: Krampus the Yule Lord, The Child Thief, The Plucker, and The Devil's Rose. Brom is currently kept in a dank cellar somewhere just outside of Seattle. Visit him at www.bromart.com.


My Thoughts

Holiday horror is quickly becoming a favorite genre subset of mine. While Halloween is a perfectly natural fit for frightening reads, there's something beautiful about the dichotomy of Christmas and creepiness and the imagery of blood-stained snow and monsters wreaking havoc to interrupt familial merriment, providing a necessary bit of antagonism to the wide-eyed wonder inherit in bringing joy to all mankind.

Or maybe I've just got a few screws loose....

Anyway, I enjoyed Krampus quite a bit, although I would have preferred something a little bit darker and meaner (but that's just how I roll). While there is plenty of violence and crazy shenanigans at play in Brom's work, there's an awful lot of jovial spiritedness to it, as well, and the bottom line is this book is a heck of a lot of fun. Sure, there's domestic abuse, a marriage in shambles, corrupt police and even more corrupt drug dealers, torture and murder. But there's also a wicked streak of black humor running through it all and a sense of magical fun that prevents the work from being darkly bleak. In one scene, Krampus tells the story of his history to a dying man who has just been viciously tortured with a nail gun, but Brom manages to infuse this with a sense of humor. The man is concerned about his final moments, naturally, but Krampus is so self-centered that he simply cannot shut up and gets lost in his own words. It's actually kind of funny and the scene plays out delightfully, even if it is a bit morbid.

I'm a fan of the mythological Krampus, and here Brom really brings this creature to life. If you're not familiar with Krampus, I suggest you Google him immediately. Brom's Krampus is just a flat-out cool dude, a highly charismatic story-teller, and this book is about his efforts to restore the meaning of the Yuletide season, which has been corrupted by the nefarious Santa Claus. You want a War on Christmas? Well, buddy, you got it right here. Krampus has sworn vengeance upon old Saint Nick, and Brom weaves in a brilliant and very sensible back-story between their antagonism that relies heavily on Norse mythology and the pagan roots of Solstice. Krampus himself is a beautifully tragic character - he's been cheated, imprisoned for hundreds of years, seen the world stolen out from beneath him, and is now faced with a mankind that doesn't give two crapolas about the Earth. How can he possibly save them? And given the sorry state of humanity in the early 21st Century, should he even bother trying?

Krampus is a strangely uplifting seasonal read, perfect fodder to get you in the mood for the holidays - and there's even some great bits of art created by Brom smattered throughout. Dashes of horror, strong doses of fantasy and myth and magic, enough bloodletting to satisfy, and plenty of heart make this a great experience. Let the Yuletide reign!

Buy Krampus: The Yule Lord At Amazon

Michael Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.


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