Audio narration = 5++ Kirby Heyborne does such a phenomenal job narrating this story that I would say that it was probably what I enjoyed most about the book. He brought these characters to life in such a way that I thought there were several different narrators and was surprised to find that this was not the case. I wasn't surprised to find that Heyborne also narrated parts of Cloud Atlas which was also done brilliantly. I look forward to enjoying more audio books with this narrator.
I am almost sad to say that I didn't enjoy Krampus as much as I thought I would. I loved Brom's retelling of Peter Pan in The Child Thief so much that I was anticipating the same kind of dark and disturbing storytelling in this story about a Christmas demon. Don't get me wrong, this wasn't by any means a fun, happy story, it just didn't have that element of creepiness that I expect from this author or that I anticipated with this particular subject matter. How can a story about a Christmas demon known for dragging naughty children off to Hell be anything less than terrifying? Unfortunately, there is a way.
The images of Krampus seem pretty terrifying but for some reason this story presented him as far less than intimidating, and even a little ridiculous at times with all too human-like flaws. Since Krampus is said to carry naughty children off to hell, I thought he would be a bit more imposing with less obvious weaknesses of character. There were definitely some bloody & violent moments involving The Yule Lord but I didn't find him believable as a God or descendant of Loki. Also, the background of the conflict between him and Santa was a little confusing at times, especially near the end. The way this story was resolved was even more baffling. However, an afterword explains a lot of the mythology that the author used to inspire parts of the book and does actually answer some questions.
While several aspects of this book left me less than satisfied, many others I really enjoyed. For example, exploring the origins of the Santa Claus and Krampus mythology and their relationships to the Gods Odin and Loki. I am always fascinated by the way many pagan rituals have been absorbed into Christian celebrations and I enjoyed reading about how that applied to Santa and Krampus' legends. There was also some wicked humor interspersed throughout that I found genuinely entertaining. Those moments when Krampus was attempting to function in today's world was at times amusing and at other times just sad. I would have liked to have seen this explored a bit more.
One of my favorite things about Krampus- The Yule Lord was the main character Jesse. I don't know how many of you watch the TV show "Breaking Bad" but there is also a character named Jesse in that show who consistently makes all the wrong decisions and isn't very likable but somehow has some endearing quality that makes you root for him all the same. Jesse in this novel was much the same and so, in my mind, this is who I saw playing this tale out. This and the incredible audio narration were, in my opinion, this books best qualities. But while I loved Jesse's character, sometimes I felt like what was going on with him overshadowed Krampus' story and I was left wanting more from both.
Overall, Krampus is a story I would recommend, especially for the Christmas/Yule season. There is a lot going on in this story; violence, mayhem, mythology, gods, goats, magic, thugs, domestic violence, murder, and belsnickels. You definitely won't be bored. If you are thinking of reading this, I HIGHLY recommend the audio, it is one of the best narrations I've ever listened to.
Rating - 3