By J. G. Faherty
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pub date: May 5, 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I went through my list of possible books for review, which is way too long, and I found this one that was sent to me by the author after the World Horror Convention in May. I remembered thinking I would save this for the holidays, then putting it out of my mind. So now it is that time of year and I am glad I was checking my list (and checking it twice) so I could find books that were naughty or...well...mainly naughty. Fortunately Winterwood was novella sized so I put everything aside so i could finish it before Christmas.
I am glad I did for Winterwood is a decidedly naughty and dark fairy tale introducing us to the legend of Krampus and his realm of Winterwood. I am not as up on the Krampus stories as I should be . Let's just say they are a dark version of Santa Claus with evil elves and a wicked cat instead of reindeer. Regardless of any questions on the authenticity of the mythology, J. G. Faherty makes me believe. In Winterwood, an old man, who as a boy was almost taken by the evil elves to the kingdom of Winterwood, tells his grandsons about the old ways much to the chagrin of their parents. But the two boys are indeed kidnapped and the grandfather and the boys' parents must enter Winterwood before they are cooked and served as the main course in Krampus' yuletide feast.
I like the modern take on this story. We are also introduced to an evil witch that was the inspiration for Hansel and Gretel. In the story, the grandfather explains that the innocent fairy tales of old were not so innocent and used as warnings to children. Anyone who have read the original Grimm's Fairy Tales know this is true. Faherty takes it one step further and asks, "What if they are not just warnings but actual incidents? What if they can still happen?" It is a fun game and the author plays it up very well. We get a scary kidnapping, a rescue, an adventure and a chilling escape. Not bad for about 80 pages.
This would be a fun book for older kids who want something more than the sanitized Christmas tales we are used to. It is great for adults who can indulge their childhood fears. In fact, this book is part of the Childhood Fears series by Samhain Publishing that allows us adults to do exactly that. Overall, this is a fun scary read that may make you think twice about elves.