This is the first book by Brom I have read. I’ve loved his artwork since my younger days, so while perusing the library a couple weeks back, I was amazed to see some a book written by him. I know, I am a poor fan for not knowing this. But it was called Krampus, a name I’m relatively familiar with, and I thought, of course he should write about Krampus. Brilliant! And there’s artwork included!
In Eastern European lore, Krampus is a goat-headed sort of demon with a hideously long tongue who thrashes naughty children with a bundle of sticks, and sometimes places naughty children in his basket to bring them down to hell. It’s also possibly where the term “to hell in a handbasket” came from. I always found him quite amusing.
While horror isn’t exactly my genre of choice, Krampus by Brom did not end up being as horrifying or gory as I imagined. That was totally fine by me. I like Krampus, so he and his minions didn’t scare me anyway. Kind of how vampires don’t scare me either.
On to the review:
I enjoyed Brom’s version of Krampus and his imperfect relationship with Santa. He’s linked Krampus to Loki as well as druids. Santa is the “bad guy” as we end up rooting for the misunderstood trouble-making demon. I thought it was quaint to see Krampus bemoaning how modernism has eliminated childhood innocence, and that halfway through the story, he realizes that Santa too has been treated the same and that Christmas has become a materialistic holiday. A little moral lesson is a good thing. But the devil inside him will not let goodness and joy triumph, and this will ultimately become his demise.
It’s a sad story, really. Brom portrays Krampus as a morbid and ruthless demon, betrayed by those he once trusted and attempting to regain the hearts and respect of people. However, coming back to the world during the information age, he is ignored or scorned. Folktales, mythos, even faith and religion, everything he once lived for, is now a thing of the past. He is unable to bring back the tidings of Yuletide.
Krampus, of course, is the highlight of this story. I felt the secondary characters were his minions, and then the human characters as tertiary, almost like a side note. The story is mostly told from a human’s point of view, and his story is sympathetic but I wasn’t really drawn to him. This was the weak point in the story.
But overall, it was a fun read and I enjoyed Brom’s characterization of Krampus. I’d say 7.5/10. The included artwork was wonderful, as always, Brom never disappoints in that department. If you enjoy art, you must visit his online gallery.
Via Goodreads, I spotted Brom wrote another morbid tale, this time about Peter Pan, called the Child Thief. Peter Pan isn’t exactly the Peter Pan we’ve come to love thanks to Disney, and I’m sure Brom has done a mighty fine rendition of his Pan. I will certainly be reading it soon!