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This is a great look into the Legend of Santa Claus. What a fantastic new take on a story you thought you knew. This is a really intriguing twist. Not my typical genre but it was enchanting to read. While it is classified as Young Adult it is not glue to that age group, most of the characters are adults.
While the story is set in the past it never really feels old fashioned. With all the Elven tech it feels very modern and more than a touch Sci-Fi. Really terrific story telling, it took some time to reveal all the details but once you are hooked it is hard to put down.
All of the characters are great, the warm bloods (humans), Elvens, reindeer, abominables, Jack and Claus. Really well rounded cast of characters. The narrative is mixed and makes the round through many of the leads POV, very smooth transitions from one to another. I never had to wonder who was narrating each section. Really helped that it was third person POV.
Nicholas, Jessica and Jon are all very interesting in their own rights. The love between Nicholas and Jessica is very sweet. I loved the flashbacks of their romance, really heartwarming. You could really feel the strength of their bond. It made several moments in the book especially emotional, yup I ugly cried!
The Elven are very interesting, to have such long lives, the things they have seen. The rift is difficult to gauge, you don't know until later where they all truly stand. I adored Tinsel and the romance with young Jon. Merry and Nog have a really sweet relationship as well.
We get a little of those classic reindeer we all know and love, Rudy is a real bada$$! And another special guest of Frosty as one of the powerful Abominables. Really great to see them as they are just as big a part of the culture of the traditional tales.
The most complex group is Jack, Claus and their mother. Claus is hard to get a handle on, he is kind and generous but has faults where his brother is concerned. Jack is one of those love to hate kind of guys. He is a very colorful guy, literally and figuratively! He is by fart the most entertaining part of the book. Jack has been neglected by his loved ones and it leads to his status as THE COLD ONE. He is very misunderstood and while a villain not completely evil.
Much of the book is about these relationships. It is so interesting to see all the dynamics at work. Such wonderful storytelling at play throughout. As everything unfolds you get to see more of Jack and how he came to be who he is and you also see the other characters evolve.
One of the most important things to me are my memories and the thought of losing them is terrifying, This definitely hit home with me and broke my heart a few times. Enter the ugly crying!
I listened to the audiobook narrated by James Robert Killavey, who is wonderful. He has such a great way of making all the characters come to life and giving each a distinct voice. So many voices to keep track of is a challenge he meets head on. I loved his snarky take on Jack. He has a great pace through the read and it adds just the right amount of urgency to action scenes. I loved his energy and thought he was perfectly suited to the story. I will definitely be looking for more of his reads.
Overall, this was a delightful experience. It is not a typical flashy action packed story but the movement is steady. From the very start I was drawn into the book and loved every minute of this imaginative retelling of the classic Santa Claus. Can not wait to jump into the next book that will update us on Jack.
Disclosure - I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.
The second book in the series is just as engaging and dynamic as the first. There are so many levels to this story. Just when you think you have things figured out, there will be a sharp turn that takes it to a whole other place! warning, if you are an emotional sort, you will need tissues at one point, maybe two!
Once again was are all first person coming from Aubrey's POV. It is tough to really get a feel for other character's motivations without being told. It does add an element of surprise to the story, as you find out when he does. That aspect really keeps you on your toes.
Aubrey has always been likeable, if a touch of a know it all, and loyal to a fault. He is also far too trusting, by now you think some of the shine would have come off of him. So often he is stuck playing mediator between his friends. It is a tough place to be. I do really enjoy how tight he and Jimmy are and the connection they share. Hannah, is another story, I think she inherited more than a little of her father's sketchy ideals.
The journey they take in this book is fascinating because we see more of what has become of the Earth. How other species had evolved and some humans de-evolved. There are many surprises when they reach the Isle of Man. I wish we could have spent more time there and had more about the relationships that were formed. This would have been a great place to have some narrative from Jimmy. I suspect that would have made later events even more heartbreaking.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Michael Braun, who is wonderful. I really enjoy the distinction between the men's voices, he keeps them consistent throughout. His women's voices are light without trying to be overly feminine. He doesn't go to the whiny upper range, so many male narrators fall into that trap. He has a great pace throughout the read. He adds plenty of energy and emotion to the read. Really a terrific fit, he blend story and narration beautifully.
I am thoroughly enjoying this series and the rare male protagonist in a young adult read. While the story has romantic elements, they are not the driving force of the story. I really wish more YA would take that approach.
What is going to happen next! While we are not at a true cliffhanger, things are far from settled at the end. I can not wait to jump strait into the next book! Thank goodness the whole series is out and there is no waiting!
Disclosure - I received a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.
Really great read!! Alice has a lot to deal with and the book is a bit of a rollercoaster!!! I loved that she was not an overly angsty teen!!! Oh, and Kat the BFF is awesome!!! Easily my favorite part of the book!!!
Great narration by Natalie Gold. Really easy to distinguish voices and the story flowed beautifully! I am definitely going to check out other books read by her!!