Author: Nancy Gray
Genre: Horror, Middle Grade
Release Date: December 12, 2018
Christmas is a time for peace and good dreams, but for Nick it would soon become a nightmare. When he starts skipping classes to hang out with the bullies at school, strange things begin to happen.
A horrifying apparition haunts his dreams and tears his stocking into shreds! Finally, the beast crashes through Nick's bedroom window, throws him in a sack, and spirits him away to its lair.
Nick finds himself in a world of perpetual twilight where he will have to find his way home before becoming trapped forever, or worse. THE KRAMPUS is hungry and the oven awaits a fresh meat pie!
When I heard about Krampus by Nancy Gray, it sounded like something I would love to read especially since I loved her other novel, Empty Eyes, so much. Unfortunately, Krampus was just an alright read.
The plot for Krampus is based on the central European folklore about a horned half goat, half demon who punishes naughty children during the Christmas season. Nancy Gray does a great job at sticking with the folklore in her book. Although this is a middle grade book, I felt like this would be better for upper middle grade since the subject matter is a bit more scary than Nancy Gray's previous scary novels. There are a few decent plot twists throughout Krampus. The world building is done very well, and at times, I felt like I was right there with Nick, living every moment, both good and bad, with him. Krampus is a short read which is perfect for middle schoolers who may not have the attention span for a longer book.
I had a hard time caring about the characters in Krampus at first, but about halfway through, I found myself worried about what would happen to Nick and wanting everything to turn out alright for him. I especially loved the character of Gretel/Greta. I found her to be the most interesting in the book even if she wasn't in the novel very much. I just loved her no-nonsense, straightforward attitude. I would love to read a Spine Chiller's novel about Greta. That's how much I loved her! The character of the Krampus was done very well, and as I've said before, the Krampus in this novel is very much like the one in folklore.
The pacing is what lets this book down the most in my opinion. During the first half of Krampus, the pacing is a bit all over the place although mostly it's just a bit slow. I found myself growing bored with Krampus and wondering if I should just give up. The action takes a long time to make an appearance, and I kept wondering when something major would happen. Since this is a short novel, I decided to persevere. I'm glad that I kept on reading because the second half is where the pacing picks up, and I found myself immersed in the book. I couldn't wait to learn what Nick's fate would be and what would become of the Krampus. The second half of this book definitely held my attention to the point where I stayed up a little later just to finish it so I could get closure.
Trigger warnings for Krampus include demons, monsters, violence, scary themes, one profanity, bullying, and death. Basically, this is a very dark book.
Overall, Krampus was just an alright read. I felt like it was much darker than the previous Nancy Gray book I had read. The plot is interesting enough, but the pacing during the first half is what makes Krampus just an okay read. However, I would definitely recommend Krampus by Nancy Gray to those aged 13+. The second half of this book makes it worthwhile.
(A special thanks to Lola's Blog Tours for providing me with an eBook of Spine Chillers: Krampus by Nancy Gray in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.)
About the Author:
Nancy Gray has published a number of works including her young adult fantasy series Blood Rain. Her short story “Chosen” appeared in Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest: a Penguin Special from Grosset & Dunlap. Her work also appears in various anthologies.
Nancy Gray has been writing for over ten years. Gray lives in South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys books, video games, anime, manga, and horror.
Other Works by Nancy Gray:
Spine Chillers: The Scarecrow
Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf
Spine Chillers: The Beast of Black Pond
Spine Chillers: Empty Eyes
Spine Chillers: The Firefly