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Krampus: a Review

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 71xfISQcpILknowing 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.

krampusbromIt’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!


The Final Empire: a Review

While it’s still fresh in my mind, let me capture the subplots in Mistborn to help me better rework the intricacies of Parallax.

Please note that there are a heck of a lot of spoilers in the proceeding content. If you’re planning on reading this book, ah, well, maybe you can skip this review! Continue reading


Twilight Watch; a Review

Twilight Watch, book 3 of Sergei Lukyanenko’s Watch series. For those unfamiliar, the Watch series is about supernaturals living among us called Others, mainly consisting of vampires and magicians and witches and werewolves, etc., who are either on the light or the dark side. The watches, divided into a day and night watch are, respectively, supernatural police forces who keep watch on its counterpart to maintain order. Supernaturals in disguise, as it were.

Twilight Watch, by Sergei Lukyanenko

Twilight Watch, by Sergei Lukyanenko

Overall, I was very satisfied with this one. Day Watch (#2), not so much. I guess the night watchers are more appealing to me as a reader.

We come back to Anton from Night Watch. He’s dragged back into duty during vacation with the news that an Other is planning on transforming humans into Others via a spell that supposedly doesn’t exist. Well of course it exists, and Anton must find this schemer before he does such a thing and permanently erases the human race. We wouldn’t want a world full of enchanters and werewolves and vampires now would we.

Pros:

  1. Lukyanenko delves into the morality and politics of being an Other. I must say, any supernatural novel or series is incomplete without this personal question becoming an issue for the character. I was very glad to see this.
  2. The book was written in three parts. Anton is unsuccessful in part 1. When I began part 2, I was thrown because the setting and characters took a 90 degree turn. But by the third part, parts 1 and 2 are wonderfully woven together. Lukyanenko delivers.
  3. I still get a kick out of the fact that Lukyanenko’s vampires cannot consume from a drunk. In Russia. Where vodka abounds. Garlic? Vampires scoff. Whiskey? You’re done. Stinks to be a vampire in Russia.

Cons:

  1. By the time the plot thickened, I had already predicted who the schemer was. The blurb on the back cover gave it away, too. Why would they do that? I wanted to think there would be a twist about the whodunnit, but alas, there was none. This may be a big no-no to some readers, and maybe it’s just because I’m a fan of Lukyanenko, but his story-telling is very entertaining despite the main plot being easy to predict.
  2. Okay. The lyrics thing is getting dull. I love music, don’t get me wrong, but when I read lyrics to a tune I don’t know, it … falls flat. And the lyrics aren’t even that fantastic. But its his book so he can do what he likes with it. But this is the main reason why I would never put lyrics in a piece of literary work, no matter how brilliant I think the words to a song are.
  3. Again, lots and lots of dialogue. Like, 80+% of the story was dialogue. But in this book, it didn’t bother me as much, but still rather noticeable.

I’m a nice reader. 8 out of 10, the minus two mainly for the predictability of the story. But he’s laid some serious foundations for the next book in the series so hopefully I can find the next one, The Last Watch, somewhere on half dot com where I buy most of my books. I much prefer a nappy used book than a crispy stiff new one.


Stone of Tears Review

I finished this book a couple weeks ago, but haven’t had the time to give my thoughts on it. Until now, so I can finally check it off my Day Planner.

The plot was good. I’ll try not to be too critical of this one.

The Story

The book picks up right where it left off from the first one, and honestly, this story feels like the second half of Wizard’s First Rule. Richard parts ways with his mentor Zedd for the purposes of marrying Kahlan. He leaves so quickly that he misses a lot of action that could have prevented a lot of confusion in Richard’s side of the story. A sect called the Sisters of Light (and Dark) are introduced, and once again, because of prophecies, the Sisters of Light decide to take Richard under their wing for their own purposes. They seek him out and he goes off alone with Sister Verna on the day of his wedding — but not after Kahlan purposefully misleads Richard into thinking that he must degrade himself again by wearing the scholastic collar.

So he leaves, thinking she doesn’t love him anymore, and then the story takes us back to Kahlan’s journey of discovering some vindictive Imperial Army who have been wreaking havoc in the Midlands. She fights against them, then eventually she is captured by the Midland’s government and is sentenced to death. Of course, she is only a scapegoat and is wrongfully accused, but tell that to the sheep who want her head.

Meanwhile, Richard takes his trek with Sister Verna to Aydindril. He fights with her the whole time, vowing he’ll kill them all if they anger him (Rich, get over it already!). Along the way, he befriends a gar, Gratch, and when they arrive at Aydindril, Sister Verna is demoted for his bad behavior. He immediately starts causing trouble and sneaking around, then figures out his powers and purposes, that he is really still a puppet at this point in time, and he exposes the Sisters of Darkness by the end of his stay there. He makes two friends there (why is it that I like his friends better than the MC’s Richard and Kahlan?) and despite their using him, he saves Aydindril and finally repairs the veil and closes the boxes of Orden. However, he and Kahlan are not reunited by the last paragraph (at least not in reality as we know it) and that separation is a decent enough cliffhanger for me.

My Thoughts

This second book is a whopping 880 pages, and unnecessarily so. Goodkind gets a bit repetitive and goes as far as the middle of the book to rehash what the first book was about. If one hasn’t bothered to read the first of a series, why in the world are they starting from the second book? I feel that it is the reader’s loss if they’re confused, and that the author is under no obligation to have to reiterate and summarize to the reader. Maybe it’s a publisher’s requirement, I don’t know. But Goodkind didn’t have to write pages upon pages of summary.

This brings me to my main peeve about Stone of Tears: while Goodkind is a good writer, he is lacking a good editor. The setup was good enough, but his middle dragged and there are numerous areas that should have been condensed. The end was great, and connecting the dots and watching everything unravel was enjoyable. But the length at certain points stick out and taints it as a whole. And honestly, I trudged through every page preceding p800, but after p800, I began to lose track of time as I (finally) got caught into the story. But then there were only 80 pages of exciting story to read through.

Pros:

I enjoyed some new characters, especially Warren and Sister Verna. The climax was better than WFR, and overall, the progression of the characters and events was realistic enough, despite the superfluity of prophecies.

Cons:

The foreshadowing becomes painfully obvious at times. It took too long for Richard to accept the collar, too long for him to realize that he possesses Subtractive Magic, Kahlan’s interaction with the army of boys was too long, Denna’s appearance wasn’t exactly easy for me to accept, and her “favor” at the end was just a little too eye-rolling convenient. Richard’s forced dismissal of Gratch to realize was Kahlan did was convenient, and speaking of Richard. He was pretty annoying until he accepted himself and began shaking his sword around — then things picked up very nicely. By the way, did Goodkind ever mention that the sword has the word “truth” on it?

One aspect of the world setting kind of hit me as odd, in that many people east of the Westlands seem very primitive and uncivilized, and there’s only a few sophisticated cities like Aydindril and the People’s Palace popped right in the middle. Also, I’m disappointed that he hadn’t updated the map (and even more disappointed that it’s still the same map for Blood of the Fold), but I suppose Goodkind has a reason for that, though I don’t know it.

Eh, where is Galea, Choora, Kelton, and everything else? I'd like to know where those two towers are, too.

And thankfully, we hardly spent any time from Rachel’s point of view, because his “something fierce” fixation was really getting on my nerves. Shota’s revelations were convenient, but if she could foresee so much, then why couldn’t she tell Richard how to save the world? Also, I just want to make a point here to other SoT reviewers that there were not that many rape scenes. People make it sounds as if there was raping and pillaging going on in every chapter. But here, I will insert that the castle carnage scene was probably quite unnecessary.

I have to give Stone of Tears a 5 out of 10. Many unnecessary descriptions and tedious plot moments didn’t make it an all-too enjoyable read for me. Some repetitiveness also got under my skin, and I strongly believe this book should have been around 500 pages at the most, not almost 900 pages. So I’m thrilled that Blood of the Fold is only around 600 pages. Here’s to a more direct story!