Now that Thanksgiving is over and the turkeybird is all eaten up, I thought I would review something a little more Christmas-y. What could be better than a vampire Santa Claus? 😉
Simon the Elf wants to tell you the true story behind Jolly Ole St. Nick. Yeah, he’s a vampire. But that alleged gift giver and lover of children hides more than that fact from you. And what about Mrs. Claus and Rudolph? Venture into a world of enslaved elves, enchanted animals, and death wrought by Santa himself. With his sharp wit, Simon will lead you into the darkest realms of Christmas. Warning: Simon cusses a lot. But you would, too, if Santa held you captive.
“Listen, even without Santa’s hidden reality, who opens their door for a dude in a Santa outfit unless you’re expecting the stripper I referenced?”
55 points, 3 stars
Warning: depictions of graphic violence, murder of adults and children; mention of past rape and child sexual abuse; homophobic comments.
Santa is a Vampire is the type of book that will sink or swim for you based on how funny you find it. If you find it funny, you will be entertained, if you don’t find it funny, you probably will not enjoy this very much at all. Santa is a Vampire is filled with crass humor that typically involves either cursing or body fluids, or both. The humor also likes to play with subverting expectations by doing one thing, and then saying not to do that thing because it is “wrong”, and then making fun off the opposite thing. For example: if it would make fun of Simon because he is gay, then Simon would say something to the effect of “that isn’t right, stop being a homophobe”, and then he would make fun of homophobes. It does this with all sorts of sensitive topics.
Which brings up my warnings. The first warning is my own, because there is an onscreen rape (even though the publisher’s website says there is no sex). You kind of have to brace yourself when a book goes out of its way to tell you that the evil vampire is asexual, but there we are. The second warning is from the publishers themselves. Follow that warning, because it is 100% accurate and more. Santa is a Vampire is not a book to be reading if you are sensitive to any sort of topic. It makes light of some very hard things, and uses them either just for a laugh or shock value. Heed the warnings.
Our narrator in this tale is Simon the Elf and he is writing a journal on Santa. Simon is pathologically incapable of shutting his mouth. The conflict of this book isn’t the fact that Santa is a vampire, it is Simon’s own mouth. It gets him into every little bit of trouble there is to get into in a book such as this. Simon justifies his smartmouth ways by saying he just can’t help himself, but really it is clear that he just doesn’t want to help himself. He may not want to help himself because of what is threatened every time he doesn’t. Since Simon is the one telling the story, we’re supposed to feel bad for him, he is supposed to be the sympathetic narrator. In reality, there is evidence to suspect that he is just as bad as Santa, he just doesn’t wanna admit it to himself!
The start of the book, we see Santa take a few victims. I can’t help but think if the entire book was told like this first chapter was, I would have loved it. It was sort of horror mixed with comedy and only a little bit of body fluid jokes. I enjoyed this first chapter a lot. Unfortunately, after this we jump to Simon’s backstory, on how he became an elf. Then it was Santa’s turn, which turned into Mrs. Claus, and then into Rudolph. This is basically a collection of histories.
This actually wouldn’t have been too bad, if they actually really told a story with their story. We don’t get a firsthand account of them. We’re getting them through Simon’s eyes, and he has to tell every little thing that happens to him as if it is part of the story. So we end up getting every time one of the three talks bad about him, every time Simon ends up mouthing off, every time they get sidetracked. It is more a collection of jokes at Simon’s expense than a story. Especially since the stories themselves aren’t anything special. They have a beginning, but their middles and endings are lost for me in the sidetracked nature of the story.
I think Santa is a Vampire has a place if it finds the right reader. I was drawn to this because of how amazing an idea of a vampire Santa Claus is. I really, really wanted to like this. Unfortunately, it just didn’t really hit what I was looking for. While I laughed at a few of the jokes, most of them fell flat for me. I think if this finds the audience it is looking for, this can do well.
Check this out if:
- you’re looking for a darker Christmas tale
- you always thought Santa had to be eating people in order to gain that girth with how little food there is in the North Pole
- you always thought Rudolph was a bit of a jackass
Don’t bother if:
- you have troubles with sexual violence
- crass humor and body fluid jokes don’t tickle your funny bone
I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Damian Serbu, Ninestar Press, and netgalley for providing this copy for review!