This is a great look into the Legend of Santa Claus. What a fantastic new take on a story you thought you knew. This is a really intriguing twist. Not my typical genre but it was enchanting to read. While it is classified as Young Adult it is not glue to that age group, most of the characters are adults.
While the story is set in the past it never really feels old fashioned. With all the Elven tech it feels very modern and more than a touch Sci-Fi. Really terrific story telling, it took some time to reveal all the details but once you are hooked it is hard to put down.
All of the characters are great, the warm bloods (humans), Elvens, reindeer, abominables, Jack and Claus. Really well rounded cast of characters. The narrative is mixed and makes the round through many of the leads POV, very smooth transitions from one to another. I never had to wonder who was narrating each section. Really helped that it was third person POV.
Nicholas, Jessica and Jon are all very interesting in their own rights. The love between Nicholas and Jessica is very sweet. I loved the flashbacks of their romance, really heartwarming. You could really feel the strength of their bond. It made several moments in the book especially emotional, yup I ugly cried!
The Elven are very interesting, to have such long lives, the things they have seen. The rift is difficult to gauge, you don't know until later where they all truly stand. I adored Tinsel and the romance with young Jon. Merry and Nog have a really sweet relationship as well.
We get a little of those classic reindeer we all know and love, Rudy is a real bada$$! And another special guest of Frosty as one of the powerful Abominables. Really great to see them as they are just as big a part of the culture of the traditional tales.
The most complex group is Jack, Claus and their mother. Claus is hard to get a handle on, he is kind and generous but has faults where his brother is concerned. Jack is one of those love to hate kind of guys. He is a very colorful guy, literally and figuratively! He is by fart the most entertaining part of the book. Jack has been neglected by his loved ones and it leads to his status as THE COLD ONE. He is very misunderstood and while a villain not completely evil.
Much of the book is about these relationships. It is so interesting to see all the dynamics at work. Such wonderful storytelling at play throughout. As everything unfolds you get to see more of Jack and how he came to be who he is and you also see the other characters evolve.
One of the most important things to me are my memories and the thought of losing them is terrifying, This definitely hit home with me and broke my heart a few times. Enter the ugly crying!
I listened to the audiobook narrated by James Robert Killavey, who is wonderful. He has such a great way of making all the characters come to life and giving each a distinct voice. So many voices to keep track of is a challenge he meets head on. I loved his snarky take on Jack. He has a great pace through the read and it adds just the right amount of urgency to action scenes. I loved his energy and thought he was perfectly suited to the story. I will definitely be looking for more of his reads.
Overall, this was a delightful experience. It is not a typical flashy action packed story but the movement is steady. From the very start I was drawn into the book and loved every minute of this imaginative retelling of the classic Santa Claus. Can not wait to jump into the next book that will update us on Jack.
Disclosure - I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.