Saturday 18 July 2015

Reviewed: A Christmas Horror Story by Sebastian Gregory.

A Christmas Horror Story was published by Carina on December 8, 2014.

Thanks to the publisher for auto-approving me for a copy of this book on Netgalley.

A Christmas Horror Story was a little Christmas novella – not sweet and festive but creepy and cunning and a good book to scare young kids away from waiting up for Santa. After all, what would happen if one day it wasn’t Santa coming down the chimney, if Santa was replaced by a sick, sinister monster instead? I saw the excitement for this book when it was released and I spotted lots of reviews from people who loved it. So I was looking forward to reading it. Whilst I can say that the concept of this story really appealed to my twisted senses, the story itself just didn’t work out for me. I don’t think it was badly written and I can even see its charm but I did find it a bit lacking and a bit more non-descript than you’d expect a book about a child-eating monster at Christmas to be.

Katie, Emily and Jack are three siblings, excited for Christmas and, the day before Christmas Eve, are left waiting for their mum to return home from work. Little do they know that waiting around the corner is a fate much nastier than the hoped-for Christmas fairytale as a Christmas beast is on its way and it’s searching for its next human meal. The characters were fairly interesting. Katie tries to be the more responsible one and finds herself looking after the other two but my favourite was Jake who was a bit quieter, a bit more contemplative but a bit wiser than you would expect.

My issue with this book was that even though I knew it was leading up to some action, the majority of every chapter didn’t come across as that interesting to me. I don’t want to sound harsh but a lot of the first half of this book I found quite dull. The content in each chapter felt flat to me and I might not have even kept on reading to the end, despite the books short length, had it not been for the fact that the author cleverly wrapped up each chapter with a spooky sentence or two that dragged me right into the story. The first time he did that I was intrigued, the second time I was again in anticipation but by the third chapter I realised that it was what it was, an eerily-worded sentence towards the end of a chapter which pretty much led to nothing. Towards the middle of chapter five, the story picked up a bit and I liked it more but for me, it took far too long to get going considering it was only about an hour-long read.

What I did like about this book was the monster. You know, just from the cover there is something about him and I loved how he was always portrayed to have a big menacing smile on his face. The creature was known as The Child Eater and he was mighty cool. He never did give up on his ploy to eat those children and his mentality amused me. I was definitely on the monsters side. Those kids to have nice, bountiful Christmases or that monster to have a few humanlike meals… I know which one I was rooting for! The antics of the monster was the fun part of this novel and he brought the humour. Maybe I’m being a bit miserable and scrooge-like with my rating for this book but I couldn’t shift that disappointed feeling that a book I thought I was going to love mostly just failed to live up to expectations. I guess I’ll understand if I find a lump of coal in my Christmas stocking this year.

An original, creepy concept which didn't quite live up to my expectations


  1. Not sure I fancy this one. I love the magic of Christmas. Sorry.

    1. It's a bit different to your typical Christmas books then!


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