Krampus by Brom – Santa Clause is kramping his style

If you are familiar with the artist/author, Brom, then you probably realize that he has a knack for taking popular children’s tales and re-envisioning them with a twist–usually warped, disturbing, and certainly not child friendly.  I absolutely loved The Child Thief, a dark retelling of Peter Pan, so I absolutely jumped at the chance to review Krampus.

Krampus is the Yule Lord, locked away for centuries thanks to Jolly Old Saint Nick.  But he is determined to come back and restore Yuletide to it former glory, after he takes care of that little Santa issue course…

We also meet Jesse, a deadbeat down and out 20 something, who stumbles upon the special key that Krampus and his minions have been searching for.  Begrudgingly he aids Krampus with hopes that the Yule Lord’s power will be enough to save his family.

Brom is first and foremost an artist (he illustrated this cover), but he is a fantastic storyteller as well. He purposely makes it difficult to question the true villain at times, so it’s hard to know who to root for even when it comes to the protagonist.  Every character has an agenda and nobody is innocent, save for Jesse’s young daughter perhaps. It wasn’t quite as gruesome as The Child Thief, but there were a few cringe-worthy moments.

I really enjoyed the comparisons of Krampus and Santa Clause.  I grew up with Santa in my life, so I couldn’t help but have a little bias towards him, but I also found myself appreciating some aspects of what Krampus signifies. Neither character is perfect, which once again leaves the reader conflicted.

Brom’s books are great to read if you want something a little different that breaks the usual formula.  I can say that I enjoyed The Child Thief more, but Krampus is still good stuff!

Maybe his message is that good or bad, there’s a villain in all of us.

*ARC provided by the publisher

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