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Gothic Blue Book VI: A Krampus Carol Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B08K65Q9HR
- Publisher : Burial Day Books; 1st edition (October 31, 2020)
- Publication date : October 31, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 1968 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 208 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #987,163 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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This is definitely an anthology for those who are already semi-versed in some of the darker folk tales surrounding Christmas. Obviously the themes of Krampus snatching children will be easy to pick up, but there are also other yuletide goblins that the casual reader may not be aware of. I felt the confusion most keenly reading the poems about the different creatures. But if you're aware of them, then it'll be nice to see the concepts taken in such different ways.
As the whole point of Krampus is "be good or the boogeyman will get you" a large majority of the stories are morality tales. Most of them are fairly straight forward: young boy being a little brat to everyone gets what he deserves. Some are particularly well thought out, as with Krampus in WWI. And some are iffy, such as the boy acting out because of abuse.
There were a lot of winter-based stories that were more stories that took place around the holidays as opposed to stories that dealt with the holidays directly, but they still maintained a good, creepy ambience. And there's a nice mix of happy endings versus sad endings, so how the story will end never feels like a given. There were a few times that I could figure out the twist early on, but it never took me out of the story.
All in all, Yuletide-horror is probably a fairly niche area for most readers. But if you're that kind of reader, this will hit the spot!
That's a description that really caught my eye, so when I was offered an ARC, I jumped on the chance and here we are. This anthology has something for everyone, but the connecting thread is Krampus. Who knew these authors could come up with such a variety of stories around this theme? Following are just a few that stood out for me:
THE ASPIRANT HEIRESS by Deanna Baran. A nasty little tale about a wicked stepmother.
A CREATURE WAS STIRRING by Samson Stormcrow Hayes. A tale about a naughty little boy and his cereal.
BLACK LACE BINDING by Laurel Hightower. What reader doesn't love a story about a book?
LETTERS TO KRAMPUS by Matt Jean. You can't trust a little boy to do the right thing when presents are involved!
ALL QUIET ON THE NORTHERN FRONT by Kara Race-Moore. Two sets of soldiers meet Krampus in a bombed out convent. (Krampus is everywhere!)
CHRISTMAS EVE by K.R. Smith. A sad tale about a woman traveling alone with her child through the ice and snow….to a convent.
KRAMPUS by Austrian Spencer. Swipe left for NICE!
HERE WE COME A-CAROLING by Angela Sylvaine. Don't let them hear you sing. This tale knocked me out!
There are several other stories here and some poems as well, featuring WHEN SHE VISITS by Cindy O'Quinn, I AM A FORTRESS by Shane Douglas Keene, and Sara Tatlinger's THE YULE CAT among others, all of them varying degrees of good and great.
I see no way for any fan of dark fiction to dislike this widely varied collection. There truly is something here for everyone! Cheers to Cynthia and Gerardo Pelayo, who curated this volume. It features authors both known and novices, and tales both naughty and nice.
*I received a paperback ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*
Top reviews from other countries
The book contains 31 stories, and a section about each author at the end of the book. Now, usually when I read a collection, there will be stories that just don’t hit me right and stories that aren’t to my taste, so it’s easy enough to weedle them down to just a few to talk about on my review. On this occasion however, I hit a stumbling block. There are no stories in this book that I didn’t like, they’re all written very well and each has it’s own charm. So, after a few days I’d managed to weedle my favourites down to 18 stories, which I suspect you would agree that is still a lot of stories to talk about on a review!
I have now, finally, chosen a handful of titles to mention to you today, I do heartily recommend taking a look at this book yourself however because it really is a great book and the stories are wonderful. There are some things in this book which I’d never heard mention of before but which seem like such a great way to look at a situation. Funnily enough I actually read two stories by two different authors which had a similar idea (one in this book, and one on the Sinister Advent Calendar, which I’ve covered daily through December) but they were still very different stories and that leads me to the first story I’ll tell you about;
Secret Santa by Gary E Lee is a tale of caution, everyone knows you’re not allowed to stay up and see Santa Claus, but nobody really knows why. This tale will show you the dangers of seeing that which you should never see. I usually try to say as little as possible about short stories for fear of spoiling them, but I figure there are enough stories in this book that I’m not talking about, to allow the reader to have plenty of surprise. Plus this isn’t going to tell you the whole story and you still need to read it in order to find out why what happens, happens and what it means. So I figure I’m safe here. The thing I liked about this story is that the child who remains awake and tries to steal a glance at Santa Claus is left marked, there was something about that that I really liked, and the imagery in this story works really well too.
The other thing I really like about this book is that it includes legends and traditions which I hadn’t really heard of before. Being from England and not really having any outside influences of that, my parents lived in Germany for a time but as British soldiers they lived on an army base so it wasn’t really a case of living in the German Traditions, and aside from that I had no influences in my life to teach me other traditions really. So reading The Night of Epiphany by Nico Bell was a really nice way to meet with a new name I hadn’t heard, this story centres around a being called Frau Perchta, having looked this up, according to Jacob Grimm (1882), Perchta was a white robed goddess who oversaw spinning and weaving, like the myths of Holda. He believed she was the feminine equivalent of Berchtold, and sometimes led the wild hunt. In Bell’s story, the character Anna is fed up of carrying out the tradition of the Night of Epiphany and wants to move on with her life, away from superstition and what she thinks is silly traditions. There is caution in this tale readers, for some traditions are there for a reason.
Following on from what I just said about traditions and legends of other culture, there is one closer to home in the story Hell’s Bells by CL Raven. CL Raven are a pair of welsh horror writing twins who specialise in gothic horror. Their stories are always fabulous and something I liked about this one is that I learned something. A huge part of reading, even if you’re reading fiction, is to learn. In this story, I learned about Mari Lwyd. As it turns out, Mari Lwyd is a wassailing folk custom found in South Wales and usually entails the use of an eponymous hobby horse, made by attaching a horse’s skull to a stick and is carried by a person hidden by a white sheet. This custom was first recorded in 1800, with subsequent accounts of it being produced in the early twentieth century. I won’t tell you any more about the tradition because it is explained in the story, but I would encourage you to look it up afterwards because it’s very interesting. CL Raven do not disappoint in their execution of this story, the imagery is very good and the story plays out smoothly. Obviously, as an English person with absolutely no idea of how to pronounce anything welsh, I absolutely murder all of the names, but luckily, I’m not reading this aloud to any audiences!
Black Lace Binding by Laurel Hightower is a brilliant little story which I very much enjoyed where a girl finds a very special kind of book in the library. Within the pages she finds a friend, as I’m sure many of us readers will have stated from time to time, but this is in a very different way. A fantastic story presented very nicely and with few characters, I really enjoyed this one. While the concept seems simple, due to less characters being involved, I can only imagine it’s entirely the opposite of simple when it comes to sitting down to write it. The thing with less characters, is that you can’t rely on dialogue to carry your story and you have to make it interested and atmospheric. I think those things were achieved here.
When the Leaves Go by Die Booth follows more of a fantasy vibe (I know, in regards to a book about Santa, Krampus and other Christmas Demons I just said fantasy like it was going to be a surprise, but read it, you’ll see what I mean) we’ve all been there, Christmas is a time for family, which often means spending that special day with people you can’t stand and don’t even speak to for most of the year, and before anybody I’m related to pipes up, I’m not saying mine were like that! But this Character’s are, and he finds a shop where he collects an item to give to his cousin. That’s about as much as I can tell you without spoiling it for you, but the item isn’t necessarily the most innocent of trinkets, shall we say?
Yule Log by TM Brown covers the subject of plague & sickness at Christmas. I enjoyed the imagery of this story and all of the things which happen. The description is fantastic, and it is oddly festive considering the sombre tone.
All Quiet on the Northern Front by Kara Race-Moore was a brilliant story, this one is set during war time and the ending packs a punch that really hits home. I especially liked this one, because I’ve recently played a game on steam, and finished it a few times, set in the same place as this story. So the imagery of this story along with the memory of the artwork in that game really tied into one another nicely. It’s not very often you’ll see someone go there with a war story in a Christmas anthology but it was refreshing to see. It shouldn’t be something we skirt around and avoid talking about, it happened, it’s part of our history and it should be included. Particularly in this kind of book. It just fits.
Interestingly enough, one which I wasn’t expecting to like really turned around. Krampus by Austrian Spencer actually started off with such a different tone to the rest of the stories, and language which I hadn’t been expecting after the others that my initial reaction was that I wouldn’t like it, but actually, it is a good story. Although this may be surprising, I hadn’t really seen or read that much about Krampus, so this year is the most I’ve ever really heard about him. I really enjoyed this one because it’s different to the other stories I’ve watched or read this year.
If a story hasn’t been mentioned here, it isn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, I very much enjoyed every story in this book and actually some of the stories I didn’t mention, that’s just because they’re not as easy to talk about as these ones are. Sometimes it’s difficult to talk about a story without saying too much.
Favourite stories include 'Sugarplum' by Kevin M. Folliard, 'Black Lace Binding' by Laurel Hightower, 'When the Leaves Go' by Die Booth and 'The Last Noel' by Hailey Piper. That said, I really enjoyed all the stories and there wasn't a bad one among them.