book review, Christmas, Middle Grade

12 Days of Christmas: Krampus and the Thief of Christmas by Eldritch Black

An imaginative middle grade book perfect for the festive season.

Gabrielle and Perceval have been left with their uncle and annoying cousin while their parents work on their marriage. Gabrielle wastes no time in setting up a scheme with the local children where they pay her for taking responsibility for their misdeeds. This puts her on Krampus’s radar, but he can’t get his hands on her despite being the wickedest girl in town. Perhaps there is another way he can use her talents to his own gain.

This is my first book by Black, but it won’t be my last. There was an almost surreal atmosphere to the town where the sibling’s uncle lives, reminding me at times of Hans Christian Anderson. Uncle Fabian’s wonderful advent calendar brought back the magic of Ursula Moray Williams’s The Three Toy Makers. There is so many imaginative touches in the first half of the book that I was entranced.

Gabrielle and Perceval are lovely children and even though I would argue that Gabrielle was lying about being bad and therefore could have fallen to Krampus’s clutches, she worked very hard for her money and I was willing to overlook that aspect of the story.

The descriptions of the magical world fired my imagination and it was one of the best depictions of a Christmas land that I have read.

However, the ending fell into the trap that most stories involving Father Christmas succumb to. Black is keen to avoid any religious connotations to the holiday, leaving the meaning of Christmas a vague goodness with Santa Claus at the heart.

I found the resolution didn’t live up to the originality of the first part of the book, but I appreciate that Black was rather hobbled by the subject matter and expectations, and I’m sure others who are more kindly disposed towards Santa will be delighted by how everything was wrapped up.

I award Krampus and the Thief of Christmas

Krampus and the Thief of Christmas is available for $4.06 ebook and $13.99 print book on Amazon.

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