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Gothic Blue Book VI: A Krampus Carol #BookReview

A collection of short horror stories and poems resurrect the spirit of the Gothic Blue Book. Gothic Blue Books were short Gothic fictions popular in the 18th and 19th century.

Burial Day Books presents its sixth Gothic Blue Book, A Krampus Carol. A Krampus Carol is a celebration of folklore and myth around Christmas, Yule, the cold winter months and Santa Claus’ opposite, Krampus.

Title: Gothic Blue Book VI | Various AuthorsSeries: Gothic Blue Book | Publisher: Burial Day Books | Pub. Date: 31st October 2020 | Pages: 205 | ISBN: 9781735693620 | Genre: Horror| Language: English | Unstarred ReviewSource: Self-purchased

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Around Christmastime, I turn into the sappiest of saps. I love the cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies, the old-timey carols, and the fluffy holiday romcom books. But…I’m still me, and I still love my horror, so I needed to find a nice balance between the spooky and the cheesy. Enter: A Krampus Carol.

A Krampus Carol is an anthology featuring lots of deliciously dark holiday themed horror. Of course, many of the stories feature the titular baddie, Krampus, but the stories span several different cultures and traditions. You’ve got Mari Lwyd, vampires, the Yule Cat…there’s a lot of variety to the horror in these stories, which I appreciated.

Of course, being an anthology, there were some very strong entries and some that were a little more “meh.” There weren’t really any out and out bad stories in the collection, but unfortunately the majority of them did fall closer to the meh category for me. Sadly, a lot of the stories featuring Krampus fell into that zone – while they were decently written, many of them followed the same generic “bad kid gets punished” narrative with not much meat on the bone. There were a couple notable exceptions though, namely “The Boy Who Tricked Krampus” by Malina Douglas and “The Dark-Eyed Boy” by M.C. St. John. Both of these stories still used the general Krampus myth, but I felt like they added a more unique spin to it. St. John’s story in particular was one of my favourites in the collection; I appreciated the blend of the traditional German myth with some modern, almost fairy tale-esque elements.

Some of the other standouts in the collection were “When the Leaves Go” by Die Booth, which features a dark sort of whimsy that really worked for me; “Yule Log” by T.M. Brown, which felt a little bit like A Christmas Carol, but make it plaguey; “Black Lace Binding” by Laurel Hightower, a wonderfully gothic entry into the collection; and “Hell’s Bells” by C.L. Raven, a very dark spin on the Welsh legend of Mari Lwyd.

While the collection isn’t without its flaws and could have maybe used a last round of proofreading before going out into the world, I did enjoy my time with A Krampus Carol. There’s quite a range of horror contained within these pages, and I think most readers will find something that appeals within these pages. As far as general anthologies go, this isn’t my absolute favourite, but I did like it and it was a fun, festive horror read.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inHorror Book ReviewsUnstarred Reviews

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