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Krampus: The Yule Lord

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Santa Claus, my dear old friend, you are a thief, a traitor, a slanderer, a murderer, a liar, but worst of all you are a mockery of everything for which I stood. You have sung your last ho, ho, ho, for I am coming for your head. . . . I am coming to take back what is mine, to take back Yuletide . . .

—from Krampus

The author and artist of The Child Thief returns with a modern fabulist tale of Krampus, the Lord of Yule and the dark enemy of Santa Claus

One Christmas Eve in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, struggling songwriter Jesse Walker witnesses a strange spectacle: seven devilish figures chasing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight reindeer. When the reindeer leap skyward, taking the sleigh, devil men, and Santa into the clouds, screams follow. Moments later, a large sack plummets back to earth, a magical sack that thrusts the down-on-his-luck singer into the clutches of the terrifying Yule Lord, Krampus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse's new master reveals many dark secrets about the cherry-cheeked Santa Claus, including how half a millennium ago the jolly old saint imprisoned Krampus and usurped his magic.

Now Santa's time is running short, for the Yule Lord is determined to have his retribution and reclaim Yuletide. If Jesse can survive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem himself in his family's eyes, to save his own broken dreams, . . . and to help bring the magic of Yule to the impoverished folk of Boone County.

357 pages, Hardcover

First published October 30, 2012

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About the author


51 books2,543 followers
Born in the deep dark south in the mid-sixties. Brom, an army brat, spent his entire youth on the move and unabashedly blames living in such places as Japan, Hawaii, Germany, and Alabama for all his afflictions. From his earliest memories Brom has been obsessed with the creation of the weird, the monstrous, and the beautiful.

At age twenty, Brom began working full-time as a commercial illustrator in Atlanta, Georgia. Three years later he entered the field of fantastic art he’d loved his whole life, making his mark developing and illustrating for TSR’s best selling role-playing worlds.

He has since gone on to lend his distinctive vision to all facets of the creative industries, from novels and games, to comics and film, receiving numerous awards such as the Spectrum Fantastic Art Grand Master award and the Chesley Lifetime Achievement award. He is also the author of a series of award-winning illustrated horror novels: Slewfoot, Lost Gods, Krampus the Yule Lord, The Child Thief, The Plucker, and The Devil’s Rose. Brom is currently kept in a dank cellar somewhere just outside of Seattle.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,467 reviews
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,247 followers
December 3, 2015
Sometimes I get really lucky with Amazon sellers, like when I got an autographed copy of a Rainbow Rowell book . This time, I got a poster with my order of Krampus:

Upon a little quick googling, it appears it originally came as a promotion through the Science Fiction Book Club. While the artwork is detailed, the whole Christmas demon thing really isn't my aesthetic so I won't be hanging it up anytime soon.

Anyway, other than the artwork, I wasn't very impressed with this book.

I guess I wanted something more epic, something more fitting with the lore of yule and Krampus. What I got was Krampus is angry at Santa (who is really ) and some trashy story. Maybe that's my fault for wanting a Christmassy story that feels like a classic; however, I felt that Krampus himself took a backseat to some mortal's mission to get back his wife. The artwork just feels like a mismatch for the overall story, so you'll be disappointed if you are judging this book by its cover. Brom may be a talented artist, but his storytelling doesn't live up to the expectations he's created at all.
Profile Image for Peter Topside.
Author 4 books632 followers
December 18, 2021
I absolutely loved this book. Usually, I steer away from books over 300 pages, with so many characters, etc, but I just had a feeling about this one. And sure enough, my spidey-senses tingling brought me the best Christmas-related book that I’ve ever read. The whole concept of Krampus has been done to death, in both television, movies, and books. Now Brom did something really amazing here, in that he fully explored the mythology of Santa Claus and Krampus, taking some liberties at times, but creating this entire universe and that was truly fascinating. Now, there are quite a few characters here, which, again, I am not a fan of, but they were fully fleshed out in this near 400 page adventure. Brom kept each person and creature distinct, had proper arcs for each of them, and very satisfying conclusions, too. Now the Krampus was the star of the show here, being every bit evil and scary that you’d expect. However, he also had a lot of depth, and showed many different sides to himself, bringing the reader into his entertaining and meaningful story. I laughed a bunch, as he would go on these extended diatribes about why he wanted to kill Santa and such, with Jesse even joking that he talked too much. It reminded me a bit of the monster from Psycho Goreman, in this regard. So there was plenty of humor, which was welcomed, and didn’t take away from the horror and/or holiday elements, which were both aplenty. I don’t want to sound like I’m gushing about this book, but it’s pretty hard not to. If you want to feel the same magic from a story, that you do from something timeless like Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, look no further.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,473 reviews9,393 followers
February 20, 2023
All hail, Krampus, Lord of Yule!

In Krampus: The Yule Lord the Reader is taken on a stunning, horror-fueled holiday journey following Krampus, his Belsnickels, Santa and a low-on-his-luck musician, Jesse Walker, of Boone County, West Virginia.

On Christmas Eve, after Jesse witnesses a battle between Santa Claus and some demon-like entitites, Jesse is left with a lot of questions and Santa's magical sack. What would seem a boon to many people ends up bringing nothing but bad tidings for poor Jesse.

Krampus wants that sack and now Jesse is in his path, but Jesse has other problems. He's gotten on the shit list of some seedy men and is dodging threats from every side, including threats to his ex and daughter.

Once he and Krampus are brought together, Jesse can hardly believe what is happening to him. He's literally been drawn into the quest of the Yule Lord, but is Krampus bad or good?

If you believe the story as Krampus tells it, Santa Claus is an evil fraud who must be stopped. Jesse really could care less, he just wants his estranged-wife, Linda, and daughter, Abigail, to be safe and it seems like Krampus will be able to help him with that.

Y'all, I absolutely adored this story. From the very first chapter, I was completely drawn into this lush, fantastical, emotionally-charged and brutal tale.

I loved getting the opportunity to read from Krampus's perspective and those scenes were some of my favorite from the entire narrative.

I was blown away by the detailed folkloric elements that Brom included. The idea of Yule, Krampus, Santa and everything surrounding them was fascinating and definitely something I would enjoy reading more about.

We see a bit of the rivalry between Krampus and Santa, which was really fun. At one point, I mentioned in a status update that they felt like an old-bickering couple. We, of course, are treated to Krampus's side of things, so I was totally behind him.

Another bit I really enjoyed was when Krampus and Jesse were traveling around and Krampus, having been locked up for half a millennium, was seeing the present state of the world for the first time.

It was interesting seeing Krampus be shocked by the horrors that modern man bring about, not just for themselves, but for others and on the Earth. That idea was explored in some detail and I found it sad and beautiful all at the same time. It was so well done.

Lastly, I don't think I can write a review for this book without mentioning Brom's illustrations. Are you kidding me? Never have more gorgeous illustrations graced the pages of a book.

Having the stunning depictions of theses characters, and pivotal moments of scenes, laid out in front of me absolutely elevated the reading experience.

I definitely recommend picking up a hard copy if you are planning to read it. I am so happy to have this remarkable book as part of my own collection. I cannot wait to pick up more from Brom.

I now officially have a new favorite go-to Holiday Horror novel!! 10-out-of-10 recommend!! I am kompletely krazy for Krampus!!

Profile Image for ♛Tash.
223 reviews211 followers
October 17, 2015
Review also on

"He's taking a switch
To redden your backside
Once he finds out you've been naughty, not nice
The Yule Lord is coming to town..."

If you haven't heard of this Yuletide jingle, or of any Yule Lord, or of Yule for that matter, then like me, you probably grew up with a traditional sense of Christmas. You know, the one with Santa Clause , baby Jesus in the manger and Christmas trees drooping from the weight of baubles. If you did, then you wouldn't know anything about dear ol' Krampus, the Yule Lord.

According to German folklore Krampus is a devilish creature who punishes misbehaving children with a switch from birch tree branches. If that doesn't freak you out, then you're probably lying because just look at him.

Krampus the Yule Lord Brom

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to find that in your kitchen. I'd probably die pooping my jammies. Now onto the real review.

Jesse Walker's life is a mess of hillbilly drama. He is unable to support his wife and child from his singing in honkey-tonks and his troubles with law after getting mixed with the local druglord. He was contemplating on ending his sorry life but stops short when he sees Santa Clause chased by seven demons. After a scuffle in the sleigh between Santa Clause and the demons, a sack falls directly inside his trailer. Later, he discovers this sack is magical and can produce any toy he desires. This magical sack puts him in the path of the Krampus and his Belsnickels, and Santa Clause. To add to his troubles, he botches a drug run that makes him the most wanted loser in Boone County.

Krampus' Belsnickels get to Jesse first and he is dragged to meet the Yule lord. Krampus has been chained for half a millenium in a cave in the forgotten mountains of Boone County, West Virginia. After all the time he'd been shackled in the cave, the world has forgotten him and his traditions, which made him so weak to the point of non-existence. The only fuel driving him on is to exact revenge on Jolly ol' Santy Clause. He gets his chance when his Belsnickels bring him Jesse and the magical sack. After rounding up his Belsnickels and his remaining magic, Krampus is out to battle Santa Clause for Yuletide tradition supremacy.

Going into the novel, I was expecting peein-my-pants-because-I'm-too-afraid-to-go-to-the-bathroom-at-night kind of horror, jumpy horror as my co-blogger Vane calls it, because of that creepy cover. It isn't even the slow-burn kind of horror, it's not horror at all. It has horrific scenes and all, but not enough to classify this as one, so if you want to be scared shitless, this isn't the book for you.

What Krampus is --- a superb urban fantasy steeped in mythology. I love Krampus, the book and the character. He is a seven-foot, horned devil with the temperament of Sherlock Holmes and the dramatics of Tom Hiddleston's Loki, which made it very easy for me to root for Krampus. I expected him to be completely evil because of, again, the book cover, but he isn't. He is endearingly complex for his single-minded pursuit of ridding the world of Santa and all he stands for. He evokes the deities of the Greek myth, equal parts benevolent and malicious, with a capacity for human pettiness. He also has the best lines I've read in a long while.

"It's time to be terrible."

“Shit spews from your lips as from the ass of a pig.”

“Burn? Smite? Punish? Why is your god so intolerant? So jealous? Why must there be only one god? Why is there not room for many?”

"The truth, the only one that matters, is that you are a buffoon, a nitwit, a puppet, a tick upon God's wrinkled scrotum."

The origin stories of Krampus and Santa Clause might be a hit or miss for mythology aficionados.They were a hit for me. They were ambitious but brilliantly done, and they are not convoluted with complex magic systems or pseudo-science bullshit.

I also quite enjoyed Jesse's part of the story, there's a druglord, a murderer and corrupt law enforcement, to his chapters. He is the human element of this fantasy, the reader's reflection when faced with questionable reality, and I tell you, it was just as fun reading about his hillbilly drama as it was to read about seven-foot Krampus going at it with muscled and ripped Santa Clause.

This could've been easily a five star read, but I had to take away that last star because *gasp* it tried to teach us a moral lesson, to follow ones dreams, as subtly as being hit with a block of sharp cheddar to the face. If I wanted to read awkward self-love stories, I would've picked up a Coelho.

Overall, this was a wonderful read, Brom is an artist in every sense of the word. Like his provocative artwork, his writing is fantastically compelling. It drew me in without holding my hand, fed me a mash of lore and mythology which I happily devoured, wide-eyed with one hand out for more, and best worse best of all made me compassionate for the devil of Christmas.

October 8, 2015

"It's time to be terrible."- Krampus

Also, my new catchphrase when hitting them buffets!


Buddy Read with Paige Bookdragon
Profile Image for Ginger.
739 reviews342 followers
December 30, 2022
🎵🎶 On the fifth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me...

Five hours of booking a flight,
Four cups of coffee,
Three cancelled plane rides,
Two bags to unpack,
And an ice storm that made us all slide. 🎶🎵

Krampus was the best option for me to read while I went through this clusterf#ck of a holiday season.

See above... ⬆️

Reading about the Yule Lord was the perfect amount of debauchery, gore and crazy that I needed during Christmas.
I loved this plot of Krampus trying to take out Santa Claus and restore the season to what it was before Christianity and consumerism took over the holiday.

While reading Krampus, I ended up doing some research on the Yule Lord and how the myth and customs came about.
It was fascinating stuff and I loved that Brom wrote this story for us.

I started Krampus with the intent of being entertained with some action, a few crazy characters, and a bit of horror gore.
But as the book evolved, I was given nuggets like this below ⬇️ and this turned out to be a more profound read than I expected.

The beast rolled its eyes.
"I'm not a devil, fool. Do you ever wonder why you seek the Devil with such vigor? I shall tell you.
Because you cannot face your own wickedness. The truth is there is no Devil making you torture, rape, murder, and sodomize one another, or making you destroy the very land that feeds you.
There is only you. So look at yourself, for you are the only devil in this room."

Definitely get to this one if you love the horror genre and want to check out some good 'ole Yuletide fun!!
Profile Image for LIsa Noell "Rocking the Chutzpah!.
561 reviews139 followers
December 20, 2021
I read this way back in the day. I see the great reviews...I think this thing is stupid.
No reasoning. I hated it 10 years ago, and nothing has changed my opinion.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,028 reviews2,811 followers
December 4, 2020
4.0 Stars
More fantasy than horror, this is fun and darkly humorous holiday story. This book blends together the secular traditions of Santa Claus with Norse mythology and other pagan influences. Quite vulgar, this book is clearly attended for an adult audience. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous.
Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
895 reviews274 followers
December 16, 2020
Sometimes we are very lucky to read an author that has thoughts and sentiments so close to our own it's as though we were cut from the same cloth. For me, at this moment, it is Brom. Ironically I met him many years ago (before he had written any books) at a comic expo where he was showcasing his Gothic art. Brom came across as a quiet and thoughtful person who didn't have much to say that wasn't shown in his art. I wish at the time that I met him I'd known how alike our thoughts might be! I also wish I had talked to him more to get a real sense of him as a person.

I intentionally savoured this book. I read it slowly, thoughtfully and made it last. I haven't done this with a book in a long time and didn't plan to do it with Krampus; but I just didn't want this amazing story to end too soon. This book had a real voice to it that sang to my soul and (as cheesy as this may sound) reminded me of who I truly am.

As a raised Christian, converted Wiccan (15+ years ago); I really wanted to read a book about Christmas that wasn't about Christmas being wonderful; but instead was about how it ripped off Yule. I could not have asked for a better book than Krampus to do this. The devil figure of Krampus, while largely unknown in North America, is prevalent in European history. He beats children who don't behave or pay Yuletide tribute to him and blesses those children who do pay tribute with gold coins. It's all or nothing with this demon. Yule falls on the Winter Solstice (Dec 21) and was practiced long before Christmas existed (a fact many like to forget or look over to make their holiday seem more sacred than it might otherwise appear).
I loved Brom's use of Asgard, Loki and other ancient gods to bring together the backstory of Krampus, Santa and others. It gave a solid backing (with little explanation needed) to base these mythical characters on. Of course you didn't need to have a huge imagination to see the Krampus that Brom envisioned as there are gorgeous full colour, and pencil sketches in this book that show our characters at different levels of detail. The artwork really adds to the telling of this story and I was thrilled at every chapter break to have a new pencil sketch to look at.

The Story Itself
Plot wise Krampus (the book) is quite simple. Krampus (the character) has escaped a thousands of years prison that Santa Claus put him in and is out to destroy Christmas and bring back the traditions and beliefs of Yule. For those not aware many of the items used in popular Christmas traditions today originated from Yule; including decorating a fir tree and using shoes or stockings to fill with treats.
Brom has created a story about (mostly) awful humans and their struggle to survive. Without Krampus' involved at all the story of the humans is interesting enough. Add in some demon slaves (Belsnickel's), magic sand, a flying sleigh and a powerful sack of items (not always toys); suddenly you have a story that is complex, yet easy to follow. I loved the plot so much in Krampus. It drives forward our characters and forces them to make decisions throughout the book. This is not a passive plot by any means. Brom ensures the plot is forced forward whether our characters are ready or not.

Is it horror?
I've read in a few places that people are unsure about picking up Krampus because they believe it might be too gory or involve child abuse. Let me dissuade you from these thoughts, while many deaths happen (and a lot of blood is spilled) there is no more violence or graphic nature to this book than in your average CSI episode or best selling thriller. A few moments might be a bit much for some but they are fleeting and so short it's hard to even remember them amongst all the other details provided.
This is not so much horror as it is gothic fantasy. There is a darkness to the entire book; but not one that fits the horror genre. Instead Krampus focuses on the horrors of our world that we have become immune to. Examples like alcoholism, strip mining, mindless video gaming and other 'normal' activities that most of society today has accepted are the true horrors. You may come away from this book feeling like your outlook on the world has changed some; but it won't be because you're horrified by gore, instead it will be because you're horrified by what we've allowed our society to become.

Nature and Respect
At it's core Krampus is really about the balance between nature and humans. We are a parasite to our planet (like it or not). We've created holidays and mass marketing to support our consumerism and endorse the greed that humans are naturally subject to. As a Wiccan I found that Brom really spoke to my heart about things I wish I could change in today's society. And even if I can't make any more of a dent in some things than I already am; it's nice to know that someone else in the world understands that what we've done is wrong; even if irreparable. We've lost respect for the 'old ways' and forgotten why they were important (and still maybe should be). Krampus reminds us of these lost traditions and thoughts in different ways and at different points during the book. There is no one moral at the end; instead values are exquisitely threaded throughout the book so that you don't ever feel overwhelmed by it; but also so you cannot close your mind to accepting the reality of our circumstances.

There are so many more things I could say about this book! Adorable characters like Isabel and her panda hat stand next to the ancient Shawnee who are more demon than human in some ways. Brom brings all our characters together by having them affected by one common thread, Krampus has influenced them in some way, shape or form. It's brilliant the way Brom has allowed everyone to find a small part of themselves in each of the Belsnickel's (Krampus' followers/slaves).

If you love Christmas and Santa Claus this is maybe not the book for you; unless you want to learn a little more about Yule. Brom has included an afterword talking of some of his research and narrative choices that may not be as accurate as they could be or evolved as he wrote. I really appreciated reading this. I knew from the introduction that Brom had to have done research but for anyone that is unsure or doesn't know many of these stories this afterword is reassurance that some thought was put into the scenarios, characters and rituals chosen.
I could easily see myself reading this book every few years in December. A nice reminder that there are others out there that dislike Christmas as much as I do and for similar reasons.

If you are looking for a gothic read that forces you to look at the world for what it is then I highly recommend Krampus. If you're nervous about it because it is not a 'happily ever after' setting then I recommend reading the first 5 or so chapters to see if it's for you. I think almost everyone will be hooked by that point and unable to put this brilliant book down until the last page. So you better not pout, you better not cry because Krampus is coming to town and he will judge your loyalty to him and his Yuletide traditions.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
628 reviews4,259 followers
January 4, 2019
“Then let us go and be terrible.”

Aspiring musician Jesse is caught up in the war between Krampus the Yule Lord and Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

Well, colour me impressed. I’m not entirely sure what I had expected from this book, but I certainly didn’t think Krampus would be such a complex, well-developed and, at times, sympathetic character! Brom effortlessly blends his storytelling capabilities with a lot of the mythology that surrounds the origins and history of Yuletide and Father Christmas. I learnt a lot about Norse mythology and Brom even includes a little section towards the end where he details some of the research he came upon whilst writing Krampus.

It’s a fun read! And for the most part, it moves along at a consistent pace. Some parts did feel like they dragged on a tad, but I wonder if this is because I read it over quite a busy time and so I just felt like I was reading it forever? Brom is not only a talented writer, but also a fantastic illustrator and each chapter is accompanied with a delightfully devilish illustration.

I absolutely loved the portrayal of Santa Claus as an evil character and the battle between himself and Krampus was quite enthralling. Brom creates a fantastic backstory explaining the antagonism between the two. It was sad when Krampus was trying to understand why Yuletide traditions have died out - but also fucking awesome when he goes on a gruesome killing rampage... didn’t I say he was complex?!

All in all, a lot of fun, and one I’d suggest for reading over the festive period if you’re into mythology, fantasy and horror! What a combination of all three! 3.5 stars!
Profile Image for Michael Sorbello.
Author 1 book234 followers
May 26, 2022
Set in Appalachia, Krampus the Yule Lord is a twisted fairytale about a failed West Virginia songwriter named Jesse who gets ensnared on Christmas Eve in an eternal war between a not-so-saintly Saint Nick and his dark enemy Krampus, aka Black Peter, an ancient trickster demon.

Completely ridiculous and laughably bizarre with lots of explicit violence and vulgar language to put the cherry on top of this hilariously gruesome Christmas adventure. Unlike most adaptations of this legend, Krampus is actually the good guy here (sort of) and Santa Claus is the cunning villain masquerading as a jolly and loving man that brings gifts to the world. Little did we know however, Santa has been hiding some pretty nasty secrets, including a history of slavery, brutal murder, unfair imprisonment and even harbors a bit of a messiah complex as he framed Krampus as an evil monster so that he could receive adoration and worship from those that didn't know any better in his place. What a manipulative psycho, right?

Despite how freakishly bizarre and gruesome this story is, however, it is not without heart. There are many genuine moments of human suffering and triumph to tug on your heart strings. Even Krampus has a few heartwarming moments of grief and redemption as the main character Jesse helps to quell the hatred and desire for blood that he's harbored since the day Santa betrayed him many years ago.

A very fun and wild book with just enough humanity to make you care about its characters.


If you're looking for dark ambient music that's perfect for reading horror, thrillers, dark fantasy and other books like this one, then be sure to check out my YouTube Channel called Nightmarish Compositions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPPs...
Profile Image for Greg.
36 reviews25 followers
June 2, 2012
I started Krampus with low expectations. I'd been reading a lot for work lately, and didn't have the time to read something light and fun, but then a window appeared in my reading schedule right at the time this hit my desk. Thank you, Lord Krampus, for this early Yuletide blessing!!!

Krampus could be an adjunct book to the universe of American Gods. It's hillbilly noir crossed with Pan's Labyrinth. It's as Christmassy as you can get when your protagonist is out to murder Santa Claus (as it turns out, that's pretty Christmassy). The funny is hilarious. The danger is real. And the violence is hilarious and real (I realize that makes me sound like a psychopath).

I've read a lot of great books so far this year, but none of them have been as full of pure fun as Krampus.

Make sure you read this if you like:
Neil Gaiman
Terry Pratchett
Glen Duncan
Charlaine Harris
Grimm (TV)
Once Upon A Time (TV)
Supernatural (TV)
Profile Image for Katie Colson.
643 reviews5,582 followers
January 3, 2023
I had every intention of finishing this in 2022. But by GOD this book would never END! It took me a week to read. A week where I wasn't working or filming or sprinting. 7 days of free time and I still couldn't seem to find the last page of this book.

Every time it felt like the conclusion was imminent, I'd look at how many pages were left and be confused and disheartened. You can't be a hair's breathe from the acknowledgements, then revert back to square one. It's rude to be honest.

The story is fine I guess but it would've been much better suited to a novella. The length of this book is mind-boggling. Talk about a book being bigger on the inside.
Profile Image for Leo.
4,245 reviews383 followers
December 28, 2022
I wanted a holiday read but just didn't feel like reading more romance or a classic this year. Rememberd I've seen this one on my book AP and gave it a go. For the most part it was an engaging read and it was interesting in seeing Brooms version of Santa Claus and Krampus. I've heard of the Krampus over the years but don't think I've read anything about it before
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,854 reviews16.4k followers
December 15, 2016
Krampus is coming to town!

Artist, writer and all around creepy cool cat Brom threw down some serious urban fantasy coin with this 2012 publication: and I was picking it up like a stoner on Doritos.

Seems that before Santa Claus started selling Coca-Cola back in the 30s, before even Charles Dickens was scaring the Scrooge out of Brits, hell before there was Brits – pagans were having fun with the Yule festival and at the center of the pre-historic party was a seven foot tall party ANIMAL named Krampus. Brom recreates the Krampus myth and throws in some muy bueno twists to what is already a fun theme.

But this is not all comedy and laughs. Like Cormac McCarthy, Brom doesn’t play: you want gritty backwoods violence? You got it. Set in the Appalachian hills of West Virginia, this gets bloody and downright mean – but to his credit, Brom keeps the bad contextual and within the parameters of his story.

A very cool retelling of the Santa story, Brom has gone OLD school and tells of the origins of Krampus, the winter solstice festival, and a Santa that we only thought we knew. Truth be told, I’ve always been fascinated with how Christianity took over and adopted pagan festivals. Brom takes this theme and runs with it. Fans of Neil Gaiman's brilliant American Gods will probably like this, I know I did.

Readers may also recall that Brom is the same guy who created a dramatic revisioning of the Peter Pan story in his 2009 novel The Child Thief. Hey Brom! Here’s some more ideas:

Toyland Mafia
Mutha Gooz
Mary had a little lamb chop
Old McDonald had a body farm

Or any of Andrew Dice Clay’s poems.

Good fun.

December 20, 2018
Audio - Kirby Heyborne gets all the stars for his MASTERFUL performance. I was on a total listening high from page 1. I love it when an author picks the perfect narrator who embodies ALL the characters (and there were a lot in this book), and brings the story to life. The narrator totally did this book justice.

Story – 5 I’m now a Krampus fan stars

Looking at the cover you would think this was a story about an evil guy, but it wasn’t. Krampus is not evil. He’s been given a bad rap and is misunderstood.

What’s the norm when people want you to believe there’s only one way of doing something?? In this case, celebrate Christmas?? Villainize the other tradition(s).

In Brom’s book, Krampus and Santa are both decedents of Norse gods. During the course of Santa’s aka Baldr’s life, death and subsequent rebirth, he renounces his past and converts to Christianity. Krampus, on the other hand, embraces his roots and doesn’t want people to forget him or the Pagan ways celebrating the holidays.

The tiny bit of knowledge I have of Norse Mythology comes from references in other books I’ve read and watching the Thor movies and Viking series. So what parts of Krampus’ story were in keeping with the actual Norse Mythology, I couldn’t tell you. It didn’t matter to me.

While the story had all the elements of a horror story, I found it to be more thrilling and heartfelt than scary. LOVED IT!!!
Profile Image for Brandon Baker.
Author 14 books2,759 followers
September 4, 2022
This story is Krampus vs. Santa Claus and it was way more insane than I was expecting!! So epic, dark, and entertaining. I highly recommend reading the afterword as well, I could read about Brom’s take on mythology forever 😂 finishing Slewfoot now!!
Profile Image for Jillian.
79 reviews51 followers
March 28, 2016
So this book is a solid four stars for me. It's about a horned sort of half man half goat type and he Carey's birch sticks and a sack and it's said that he whips bad children with his stick and puts them in his sack and takes them to hel (that's hel not hell) hel is also the daughter of Loki. If u leave your shoes out and treats for krampus in them he will leave u a gold coin. As it turns out krampus might actually not be a bad guy. He has Been locked up by Santa-clause for centuries of years and Santa stole his bag and keys that open all doors. This tale folks is the story of his revenge. All in all is a good read and the art work is spectacular . Have fun reading this and don't forget to leave treats in your shoes cause Krampus is coming to town. !!!
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,388 reviews1,057 followers
May 21, 2017

"Guard your dreams. Always guard your dreams.”

Brom is basically awesome - I read his reimagined version of Peter Pan last year in 'The Child Theif', and now found out he penned the Christmas lore dark drama/horror story Krampus. His prose is delectable. Bring on the legends!

I don't know much about Christmas lore other than when I treated myself to the theatre to see Krampus when it was released during December. I'd seen the book pop up among friends and a horror reading group in my Goodreads feed for awhile before and after the movies release. To my delight, the movie was great fun and has turned into one of my top favorite for Christmas themed flicks to bring in the favorite season. While the movie was gifted with colorful humor, the book kept to its dark roots, although it snuck in some humor mainly in the forms of situational irony and the frustrated yule Lord screwing things up when he tries to get ahead.

The point of view is mainly through a lead who encounters Krampus and then must use his resources to get back at a mini kingpin in his town who works with the local corrupted police force. Sometimes you have to side with the bad to battle the bad. Throw in some Christmas themed weapons like the magical santa sack that has more than toys at its bottom, and you get some Christmas themed fun on the morbid side. Santa may be a legend, and his henchmen of reindeers and other jolly souls isn't anything to laugh at, while poor Krampus is forced to bring along him limited resources of reluctant and semi self-hating slaved companions.

Krampus isn't the jolly old red-suited man who wants you to sit on his lap (at least not in an innocent way...), but you can't help but like him. He grew on me with his humor and his sense of honor of sorts. His motivations weren't wholly unpure, at least in his mind, and he does show compassion where its warranted. A dimensional villain who isn't actually a villain anymore, he's a sympathetic enough character who lets his wickedness reign in a couple of demented scenes.

There's mucho pagan legend and lore that predates the Santa legend, some of it passed down and some of it probably invented for the tale. On one hand dark and on the other hand meant to be a playful story that proudly shows its different. Jesse as the main is likeable but drifting through the book mainly for a human POV was a small surprise.

I did like the twist with music at the end and how it plays with the creativity of the human heart. I think the theme is meant to keep the magic of love, creation, life and celebration alive. Krampus was shocked to find so many had turned away from the wonders of the world because they only cared about the luring gods of the pixels now - television sets, x-boxes, computers and phones. Pretty discouraging when even he gives up on the human race, but I dug the theme the author put in.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
1,677 reviews2 followers
December 27, 2015
I've read a lot of books on Krampus in the past couple of years, but this one is my favorite by far! The illustrations by Brom were a fantastic addition (I purchased the print version....not sure if the e-version is the same).

This was an entirely different interpretation on the origins of Krampus than other authors had used. At points, (MANY), I found myself believing in the mistreatment of Krampus and wanting him to succeed, as this take certainly showed a divergent side to the lore. Humor was infused in nearly every section--to some extent--while the raw brutality of a horror story was also present. A great mix for this story; one that certainly had me captivated from start to finish.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Olivia.
70 reviews6 followers
January 2, 2022
First of all. I love holiday/winter horror... I also love my state of WV. Blue and gold run through my veins. So I was hooked right off the bat. This delivered in a way I did not expect. I loved this! Only reason not five stars for me is that some of the dialogue was cheesy to me, but honestly that also worked for this story in its own right. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and love how the author intertwined the myths of Santa and Krampus. There were some really amazing scenes that were both brutal and hilarious. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
588 reviews3,516 followers
November 19, 2016
"Santa Claus wiped the blade clean of blood, replaced it in his sheath. [...] 'Krampus, my dear old friend, you will pay. Your death is mine and I intend to make it a terrible one."

He sees you when you're sleeping. Oh, yes, he does.

I gave the The Child Thief five stars off the bat last year and was really looking forward to diving into another one of Brom's novels. He's such a gifted writer, on par with the King (Stephen) himself, and it's a shame his work isn't better known.

All I know about Krampus is from that Supernatural Christmas episode. He is Santa's evil twin and punishes the wicked during Christmas. Brom's Krampus is a bit like that. He's a pagan Norse god and demands sacrifices every winter solstice. Santa has chained him up for centuries, but he manages to escape with the help of his slave-elves and our down-on-his-luck protagonist, and goes looking for revenge.

And spread a little Yule cheer.

"It's time to be terrible."

Like Peter from The Child Thief, Krampus is an antihero. He's infuriated the world has forgotten him and the Yule Festival and not above spilling a little blood in his quest to return to power. He threatens to beat little kids with birch rods if they don't believe. At the same time, he's capable of great good. He's confused and lost in a time where pagan gods no longer hold sway. Imagine your elderly grandma on a highway. That's what it's like for him.

"Other than his thumbs, the boy barely moved the whole time, staring glassy-eyed, his mouth half-open, looking like a lobotomy patient.

'He is bewitched.' Krampus strolled purposefully across the room, right up to the screen and smashed it in with his fist.

The boy clutched the cake controller to his chest and froze, his eyes threatening to burst from his head. Krampus leaned over to the boy. 'You are free. The world is now yours. Go take it."

There's also a heavy religious theme since Christianity and pagan religions don't exactly have the best relationship. It does a great job criticizing religion while showing things back then aren't all that great either. Both have their good points. Krampus represents nature and energy. Christianity represents charity.

Despite all the good things going for it, I didn't like it as much as The Child Thief. The plot is a little run-of-the-mill Hollywood. You have the loser dad with his estranged wife and cute kid. The wife has a new boyfriend who's beefy and successful and belittles the hero. Bad Thing happens to his family and Dad saves the day, all while recovering his self-esteem and loses ten pounds. Closing shot: happy reunion.

Consider gifting this as a Christmas present though. It'll certainly get you noticed.

Profile Image for Cameron Chaney.
Author 6 books1,811 followers
January 28, 2016
Okay, wow. I don't know how I managed to completely forget I even read this book, but I guess I did.

I read this during Christmas (obvs) but after finishing it, it's like it disappeared from my mind. I didn't forget what happened in the story, I just didn't think about it after it was over... does that make sense? *shrugs* Anyway, I was just now lying in bed trying to get to sleep, when a random thought hit me: "Woah, I never even marked Krampus as read." Does that mean Krampus is a bad book if I forgot it so quickly? Well, no... but it's definitely a difficult book to rate.

From seeing the cover and illustrations, plus reading the synopsis, I was very excited to start it, expecting a dark horror-fantasy with plenty of magic and epicness (not a word, I know). But it just wasn't what I hoped for.

For one, it's not horror. At all. And while it is dark in its own way, it never really shocked me or gave me chills. If anything, it's darkness leaned toward the comedic, sometimes goofy. Dark humor is fine, but it wasn't what I was looking for when I picked up this book. Whimsical, yes. But goofy? No.

Another thing is that the story focused a lot more on the problems of Jesse, the MC, and less on the war between Krampus and Santa Claus. I wanted more build-up of that battle, but a lot of time was spent with Jesse and blah. There were some good moments involving Jesse and his struggles to win back his family , but it could have been cut down with more Krampus/Claus in its place.

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the book enough. The mythology involving Krampus and Santa Claus was good, and took the story in an interesting direction. It was also an entertaining read, so I was never really bored. I was just a little let down by the tone. Had the book been more like it's illustrations, it would have gotten an A+ from me.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to bed. I don't think writing a review on my phone in the dark is the best for one's eyes. 'Kay, bye.
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,074 reviews221 followers
December 17, 2020
2020 reread upped it to 5 ⭐️ this was exactly the book I needed this year. Also the audio narration is brilliant.

Original 2016 review 4 ⭐️

have to admit my expectations were pretty low on this one despite being recommended by several trusted friends. I'm happy so say I totally loved it. A Christmas horror story what's not to love? If you are a fan of Neil Gaiman definitely check this out it had the same feel and mythology references. Also even though I read an ebook version the interior art was fantastic. I will definitely look for a paper copy of this. I read most of this on Christmas Day and it was a great choice.
Profile Image for Tyler J Gray.
Author 2 books213 followers
December 21, 2018
Re-read December 2018

I was really enjoying this book, then closer the end I got to a part (I didn't remember a THING from reading it 3 years ago!) that had me going "Seriously past me? WTF were you on? What were you thinking? Saying this is a favorite awesome book and 5 stars?!" Then the very ending happened, and i'm like "Oh...I see" and past me is now doing a jig and saying "hahahaha I told you I told you!" but as silly as that sounds, that is obviously a good thing. Lesson learned: Trust past me. Past me knew what I was talking about. 5 stars, again. Krampus is coming to town! Also, finishing this on Yule so Merry Yule! :)

(First Read)

This was an amazing book! I recommend keeping an open mind while reading it, as it has much religion (christian and pagan) in it. It doesn't appear to me to say either is bad or good. They both have their stuff, good and bad.

It is a horror story. It has violence, blood/gore, death, drugs and crime in it.

It had me engaged the entire time and my emotions went up and down, and there were tears (of both joy and sorrow). The ending had me with no idea how I should feel at first but man I loved that ending! I loved the entire book! I've annotated, highlighted and used post it tabs, the book all over the place!

This has GOT to go on my favorites shelf! The afterword as well explains so much real life history. Oh and you can't forget the wonderful illustrations! This was my first book by Brom and I was not disappointed!
February 4, 2017
Ughhh I really wanted to like this, I mean it sounds bloody amazing!!!! I was still really interested with the whole stuff about Santa and Krampus but I just couldn't bring myself to continue because of the MC, Jesse. I really didn't give a rat's ass about him, sorry :/ Maaaybe, I'll try again later if someone succeeds in changing my mind. Arrgghhh I'm really sad about DNFing this one :(
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