Monthly Challenge: December is Complete!
Hey all! Here’s to a monthly challenge completed!
I hope you enjoyed this month’s reading material, because let me tell you: I was thoroughly entertained by the two books that were chosen. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill and Krampus by [Gerald] Brom were two of the most ingenious, darkly humorous, and yet frighteningly realistic novels I have ever read.
It’s funny, because without knowing what either of the books were about (besides the Christmas/thriller theme), they both ended up being very similar in terms of style. Brom and Hill both have a very dark sense of humor and specialize in writing brooding, unsuccessful, bottom-of-the-barrel characters that the audience really has to dig to find the good in. Vic, the main character in NOS4A2 is a tattooed wraith of a woman with an alcohol problem, a serious mental instability, and the bullheadedness of a psychopath. Jesse, the main character in Krampus, is a destitute musician living out of a tiny trailer with no job, a wife that has left him, and no backbone to speak of.
I loved both of these books and have become a devoted fan to both authors. I’ve actually already lent out NOS4A2 because one of my friends was so keen on reading it after hearing my review. It was such a great book, because I could feel myself becoming even more immersed in it the more that I read. The trials that Vic had to endure actually felt like my own. I felt like I was losing my mind. I considered the fact that maybe the whole story was actually a dream sequence that Vic was making up and I was being taken along for the ride. I think this technique was Hill’s clever play on the unreliable narrator. I feel like madness in characters usually makes it hard for the author to tell a concise story, but Hill also employed the use of other character’s POVs. This in turn made the story more authentic and therefore more terrifying. The antagonist in this novel, Charles Manx, is so utterly disturbing. Hill made him one of my favorite villains, mostly because I know someone like this can actually exist… and it’s terrifying. So not only was Hill’s creation of the characters just masterful, but his grip in the art of storytelling is beautiful (he managed to write a very satisfying conclusion to this book, unlike some of his dad, Stephen King’s, novels).
Brom is an author that I hadn’t heard of before, but after looking him up I realized he has a huge cult following and is, first and foremost, an artist. He used to draw for the Magic: The Gathering card game, other RPGs and movies (like Sleepy Hollow), and is the author behind the book The Child Thief. His dark artistic style is prevalent in this story, but he balances it beautifully with themes of hope and morality. Throughout the entire book, I just knew that the ending would be dark and hopeless… I was falling in love with each of his character and I figured he would take the easy way out (like some dark horror writers) and would just kill off each of the guys I was rooting for. Fortunately, I was wrong! I felt so deeply for each character, and it kept me enthralled. I kind of wish I lived in that little town of Goodhope just so I could have experienced this thrilling adventure with Krampus and his Belsnickels. I think the story style is similar to how children’s books are set up: morals at the end, the characters learn something about themselves, there is some hope at the end after all, etc…. but it definitely isn’t kid friendly, just as a word of warning.
All-in-all, a beautiful couple of books to have read for Christmas time. There was some whimsy, some bloodshed, and even some happy family get-togethers that remind the audience to be grateful for your own quirky family. There were magical creatures that promised gold or smiled their candy-cane grins, and entrances to Hell… literally and figuratively. Overall, two equally entertaining and heart-warming books that I would suggest to anyone. 🙂
Until next time!