Monday, February 5, 2018

Christmas Carol & the Defenders of Claus by Robert L. Fouch, 2017

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Carol really loves Christmas. The decorating and shopping, the Christmas sweaters and music―she wishes it all could be a year-round event. The only downside to the holiday is that she lives in Florida (not exactly the land of snow) and her only family is her Uncle Christopher, who adopted Carol when she was young, after her father's disappearance and mother's death. Her uncle owns a toy company and is super rich―but he's a grinch and a workaholic.

Then, on a magical December trip to NYC, Carol meets her destiny. Santa―the real man with the bag―meets Carol at the top of Rockefeller Center, overlooking the tree. There he explains that Carol is descended from a long line of Defenders of Claus, those who protect and serve Santa. Carol's dad was a Defender. And now Carol has been tapped to fulfill his legacy.

Who would want to hurt Santa? Someone pretty scary and shady, it appears―a masked man who's trying to destroy Christmas! Carol is whisked off to the North Pole on the adventure of a lifetime. Can she help save Santa before it's too late?

(256 pages)

This is a cute book which would be a fun read around Christmas.

It's a fun story, not exactly revolutionary but it does combine the usual Christmas/fantasy story elements in an interesting and relatively unique way. The idea of the Defenders is reminiscent of the Guardians in Rise of the Guardians, but the mortality of the Defenders and their role as active bodyguards for Santa is an interesting twist.

The main characters are fairly straightforward and 2-dimensional, especially Carol–the archetypical happy-go-lucky orphan girl with a depressing parental guardian and unexpected, and incredible, magical powers. Some of the side characters are more interesting, though, especially a fellow Defender from South America Carol gets to know later in the book.

The story takes some interesting twists as it goes along, evolving further away from archetypes, and the plot is not as easy to predict as you would think (though some aspects are still extremely predictable). It goes darker than I expected, but still stays appropriate for younger readers. I think they would enjoy it even more than I did. If you read it, definitely let us know what you think in the comments down below!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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