Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it stands quite fine on its own. In fact, I read this book first and then checked out Book 1, The Naughty List.
Santa and his reindeer team head home on Christmas Eve for a quick regrouping, and perhaps a change of clothes, after their unexpected battle with the imp demons known as the Naughties in Book 1. After all, Santa has the elf magic to slow down the clock, so he has plenty of time to deliver toys around the world. However, upon landing, they notice chaos and tragedy. Santa’s blood boils at what has been done and there will be blood to pay!
Once again, this was an excellent holiday horror tale. I’m really enjoying this kicking butt and taking names Santa. Of course, the Naughties are playing for keeps also. The reindeer lose one of their own and it hits hard (sniffle). Yet this seems to stoke their fires for vengeance. A lone remaining Naughty, one left behind to deliver an ultimatum, is captured. I think Yak expected to die but Santa has other plans for him. I applaud the practical use of holiday garland as restraints!
Santa needs answers and perhaps a temporary ally. So they travel to his birthplace in Turkey to find a deadly foe. Yak was none too pleased with this. I was glad to see Santa returning to his roots, they being more sinister than the typical jolly fat man we see decorating so many store windows and holiday paper.
What follows is part adventure and part revenge action movie. It’s all deliciously twisted. Once again, Lorn brings that common sense brutality to the game, making the tale that much more enjoyable. The reindeer aren’t your timid lovey dovey dainties; no, they are beasts that mean to take out as many foes as possible.
My one wee complaint is that there are only 3 clearly female characters, and two are merely mentioned and not seen. Some of the Naughties may be female, but that is never specified. So we have the reindeer Vixen (who gets a few goat like blats for lines) and perhaps Cupid is mentioned, along with Santa’s wife Mary being mentioned. I would have liked another clear female in the fray somewhere. However, this is such a small thing and didn’t deter my enjoyment of the tale.
The adventure takes Santa and his companions to a place he doesn’t want to go. The Naughties are seeking power but get more than they can chew on. This puts Santa and his team in grave danger. Let’s just say that I won’t be looking at some classic toys the same ever again.