I first heard of Krampus a few years ago when an Austrian friend came to stay with me. She showed me YouTube footage of the celebration, and damn is it terrifying! Although, I can understand why some parents would want to tell their children the legend of Krampus – a lump of coal isn’t enough of a deterrent to stop them from being absolute terrors…
This was a different take on the creation of vampires – that they were created by Lilith (the first wife of Adam). That they don’t have to feed on blood. That they are just not understanding their given gifts in the world. It was certainly a take that I enjoyed and found quite refreshing.
I thought this was going to be very traditional-feeling. The overlooked suitor keeps on trying for the beautiful, rich bride. He gets help from an unpredictable source (in this case a river), and after completing task after task, he finally triumphs. That is until you remember that this is one of Bardugo’s fairy tales and they aren’t going to be like this at all.
I love the notes of a traditional fairy tale throughout this story. The idea of “don’t go into the woods”. Be careful of the wicked witch. A young girls’ life being turned upside down by the remarriage of her father (after the mother has passed away). But this is where many of the similarities end.
After finding the unicorn, the four young heroes on their impossible quest set off to find a Griffin. I love the mixture of fantasy and growing up that are intertwined in this journey. Even though this is only the second book in the series, the four children have already begun to accept each other for their strengths and flaws – the bickering has already almost stopped.
Most stories, fairy tales, really anything that I read features a pretty girl. She is gifted by grace, beauty, kindness, yadda, yadda, yadda. But not so with this reimagined fairy tale story. This is all about the ugly (and somewhat forgotten) ugly sister.
There seems to be a lot of stupid Hans’ in this collection. Or at least a patch towards the later middle that has a lot of stories that feature a dumb young man named Hans. And the recurrent theme seemed to be honesty, truth and fairness. Give to others. The typical ideas of fairy tales that I grew up with. Just with a far more twisted take and journey.
I found it almost impossible to put this damn book down. Which is a little problematic… since I have a whole heap of other productive things to do… the illustrations in this version just helped to make it ten thousand times more difficult to put down.
I love when you read a nice, simple, homely story. And just finish it… smiling. Nothing else, just quietly smiling to yourself. The fact that this was the final tale in The Mammoth of Irish Romance collection just made it all that much more sweet and endearing.
This was a pretty tripped out story. In more ways than one.