- File Size: 562 KB
- Print Length: 210 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Twilight Times Books; 1 edition (October 15, 2012)
- Publication Date: October 15, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B009RY5D6Q
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,010 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$16.95|
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The Coal Elf (The Coal Elf Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 210 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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This story focuses on wee Ember Skye. The elfmaid is from an upper-middle class, soft-skill family from the North Pole. The Skyes do honeyed work such as songwriting, fashion design, graphic design - stuff you'd expect to see guys named Bertram doing on Michigan Avenue. From birth to age ten, this is the only life Ember knows and it's sweet.
Upon her tenth birthday, all elves are put into an apprenticeship for their Lifejob. As the moniker indicates, you are chosen to do this job forever.
Maybe it was a clerical error, maybe it was dumb luck, but Ember is assigned to the Mines to dig coal for naughty kids until the day she drops dead. Being from softer gentry, no one in the Skye family can figure out why she was chosen for such work, but once your number is drawn, there's no going back; debate is verboten. Ember is to stay in these mines and never see daylight again. The only notion of day or night is the rush of bats leaving the caves for the evening.
As expected, this book does have hot cocoa, candy canes and lollipops, but the elven society is a sugar-coated hell and author Maria DeVivo pulls no punches. These beings live under Santa Claus's jackboot.
By the time Ember is sixteen, she has been dredging the Mines for six years and has begun coughing blood and lung-bugs. One day, Santa allows her to enjoy a forty-eight hour weekend pass to revisit her old life. From here, things get worse.
Central themes to this novel involve the examination of the nature of systems and their architecture of checks and balances. Tyranny is also examined, but this book questions why a society runs the way that it must, despite the heavy hand.
Solipsism is reviewed here as well. What is reality? Who is running the show and is it all a lie? Through the mechanics of negative reinforcement and conditioning of behavior, here, systemic flow is maintained.
This story is not a plea for egalitarian sunshine, like so many fantasy/sci-fi novels, but a consideration of what happens when you get what you wish for.
Throw this conflict, these and a handful of other memorable characters into an incredibly creative North Pole setting, and you have a story that I could not put down. What I particularly enjoyed was DeVivo's portrayal and extension of Christmas with her creation of a detailed fantasy world where we learn how the North Pole might actually work. This awesome setting is expertly woven into the story so that I was transported into this amazing world as I read.
Do yourself a favor and read The Coal Elf--I highly recommend it. This is one of those books that should be made into a movie (Tim Burton are you listening?). Great characters, engaging plot, believable dialog, wonderful setting and, above all, writing that compelled me to keep turning the pages (that's what we all really want as readers, right?).
All in all a wonderful read and I can not wait til the next book in the series.
Congratulations Ms. DeVivo!!!
~Charles Day, Bram Stoker Award®-nominated author of THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF, and THE HUNT FOR THE GHOULISH BARTENDER
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