Review: The Night Before Krampus by Peter Johnson
Genre: Folk Tale/Middle Grade/YA/Fantasy/Christmas
“It’s two days before Christmas and a quiet Rhode Island town is about to be visited by a number of unexpected guests—including a pair of very different Krampuses. Are they there to protect the innocent, or to exact revenge for a long-forgotten tragedy? Some curses fade over time, while others grow stronger. In this homage to Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, a young boy named Christoph and his friends must find some way to atone for a wrong committed a generation before they were born.”
“Peter Johnson is the critically acclaimed author of several collections of poetry, short stories, and YA and middle grade novels… Johnson is the recipient of two creative writing awards from Rhode Council on the Arts and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a Professor Emeritus at Providence College where he still teaches, and he lives in Barrington, RI with his family and his black pug, Winnie.”
To learn more please check out his website.
The Night Before Krampus is a deliciously twisted novella about a curse, which has taken a generation to come to fruition. It takes place in a small Rhode Island town where two wealthy, bigoted, mean-spirited men decide to run a small destitute family out of town. Despite some well-meaning citizens’ compassion, they succeed. All to protect the town’s economic standing.
The story is told through an omniscient narrator with multiple points-of-view that centers mostly on a small group of middle schoolers. Christoph, Clarisse, Bullet, a recent new comer, and Studs, the school bully. The town has also attracted some strange new citizens recently. Like the new disabled and kindhearted baker, Mr. Engle, who is delightful. Ms. Bright who is the new drama teacher directing the school Christmas play, The Night Before Krampus. And Adrian Hasty, the creature posing as Bullet’s father.
Mr. Johnson weaves this contemporary tale of old world creatures, ghosts, magic, and humor into a captivating and entertaining Christmas story. Compassion rises in the most unlikely places as the story unfolds. The theme is a classic good struggling to overcome evil, with the possibility of redemption. Which is why no two Krampus stories will ever be the same. I am glad I picked up this novella, it was a frightfully fun read with heart.
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Some scenes could be distressing to readers.
No significant issues.
Rating: **** Four Stars
Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Approximate word count: 35-40,000 words