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The Dark Servant Paperback – April 16, 2017
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"Beautifully crafted and expertly plotted, Matt Manochio's The Dark Servant has taken an esoteric fairy tale from before Christ and sets it in the modern world of media-saturated teenagers--creating a clockwork mechanism of terror that blends Freddy Krueger with the Brothers Grimm!" -- Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: The Fall of the Governor
From the Author
If you've never heard of Krampus -- and I'm wagering a vast majority of American readers have little or no knowledge of him -- then The Dark Servant is for you. Krampus, in pre-Christian European folklore, is Saint Nicholas's (yes, Santa Claus) dark companion. Saint Nick rewarded the good kids with toys and treats while farming out the bad ones to the guy on my book's cover. My Krampus goes after a New Jersey town's high school bullies, but there's so much more to it than that (teenage mental illness is a theme, for instance). So if you're sick of teenage vampires that aren't scary, or werewolves with unrealistic six-pack abs, check out The Dark Servant. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the story of Krampus. And what is Krampus you ask? Well, here’s a little tidbit…
December 5 is Krampus Nacht — Night of the Krampus, a horned, cloven-hoofed monster who in pre-Christian European cultures serves as the dark companion to Saint Nicholas, America’s Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas rewards good children and leaves bad ones to Krampus, who kidnaps and tortures kids unless they repent.
I don’t remember my grandmother ever calling it by this name, but it’s basically the same concept.
Do you remember the words to the song…. come on, you know you’ve heard it playing everywhere since November 1!
“He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake “
After reading this… you’ll understand why it’s so important to be good. And if you think about the origins of many of our Christmas songs, you’ll find a recurring theme among them…
With all that being said…. I LOVED this book! The action starts on page one and never lets up. The Krampus has his list of naughty children and sets about rounding them up, throwing them in his cage (strapped to his back), and taking them to his lair to dole out punishment for their evil deeds. And since we know that Santa always checks that list twice, we know his information is good.
Five kids are kidnapped. Each one has committed a heinous crime against their peers. Mostly we deal with bullying… for one it’s so extreme that the victim tries to take her own life. Each child must be dealt with, each must repent for what they’ve done… and be sincere. Krampus knows if you are lying. But did he somehow make a mistake? Does he have a child in his possession that should not be? Will they be found before they are all tortured within an inch of their lives?
While this is a horror story and it does contain its share of blood, guts, gore, and other grisly things… there is a message here. Bullying isn’t ok. It’s never ok. The Krampus turns the tables on these bullies and makes them feel as their victims do.
The story flows smoothly and your attention is grabbed right away and the hold the story has over you never let’s go. The characters are well-rounded and believable. The issues presented are things that kids deal with every day.
Pick up a copy today for a great holiday horror read!
I'm the kind of guy who thinks that Die Hard is the best Christmas movie ever, while absolutely despising A Christmas Story wholeheartedly. And, frankly, give me Scrooged over the straight-up Dickens classic come Dec. 25, or even Lethal Weapon. Heresy? Yeah, maybe, but whatever... All of this is to say that when it comes to Christmas stories, I'm looking for something a bit off-kilter, something most holiday purists would see as largely non-traditional.
In short, give me Krampus over Santa Claus any day.
And that is exactly what Matt Manochio does with The Dark Servant, a delightful bit of X-Mas horror that sees naughty high schoolers abducted by Kringle's dark, demonic other. Manochio has done his homework when it comes to the hoof-footed beast, with a story derived directly from the mythology of Krampusnacht and what feels like a heaping amount of 1980s-inspired B-horror fun.
While the book is hardly a fright-fest - in fact, I don't recall finding anything in this book to be downright chilling or truly horrifying, despite the menace Krampus represents and the agonies endured by the cast of high schoolers in peril - it is, at the very least, an entertaining creature feature that's more The Monster Squad than Alien.
One thing that Manochio does very well, though, are his characters. Billy and Mike have an easy-going and relateable friendship, and I'd wager we all had similar relationships in high school. Billy's pining over his classmate, Maria, is familiar but nicely done, without ever feeling too cloying or sappy. Both Billy and Maria feature prominently, and I enjoyed spending time with them. The family dynamic between Billy, his brother Tim, and their local cop father also rang some true notes for me.
Although I was expecting, and ultimately hoping, for more of a terror thrill ride, The Dark Servant entertained me well enough to keep me happy. Thematically, the work brings up some important issues regarding bullying and the traumatic physiological toll those cruel taunts can carry, but it doesn't plumb those murky depths quite deeply enough to satisfy. Overall, it's an enjoyable read, but feels a bit too light-weight in the topics its author tackles. Still, it's not a bad bit of holiday-themed reading, even if Manochio pulls his punches a little too carefully and a little too often. (3.5/5 stars)
An entertaining creature feature torn from German folklore and plopped in the middle of present day small town America. A wee heavy on the “bullying” social commentary and the ending felt a bit rushed, but nonetheless an evenly paced and well written story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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