Originally Published on TheNerdistheWord November 2016
Want something fun to curl up with this holiday season? Check out Kass William’s novel The Elf Conspiracy, the first volume of the Hy Brasail Chronicle, available at Books on Beechwood in Ottawa, as well as on Amazon (digital copy) and Indigo (also digital).
It is always fun to picture the mythology of Christmas in the modern world. The magic behind toy making elves, flying reindeer and an old man passing through chimneys gets a little wild when you start to consider labour right, global toy markets, satellite positioning and air traffic control, or personal home security systems. The mystery behind Santa Claus’ strenuous trip around the globe to visit every child across all continent in one night seems to be incompatible with our current way of life. We might even consider, should Santa be real, that we would be a danger to him and his North Pole?
An Original Twist
Don’t be mislead by the adorable cover of this book; this isn’t a children’s novel. Reading this story aloud to children at bedtime wouldn’t be bad at all, but it will get you a great deal of questions. Pieces such as “Are all Bishops Santas?”, “Is it the CIA that really brings presents” or “What’s the deal with North Korea” might emerge. Anyway, gather round for this touching little tale. After the strange year, we’ve had, everyone needs a little dose of William’s Christmas magic.
Not your Typical Christmas Story
Kass Williams tells of Kris Kringle, our beloved jolly old man. Each year, he crosses the dimensional rift that separates the world of humans and the world of elves, continuing a tradition that both spreads happiness, and protects one world from the other.
Kringle is having a hard time. His elves are planning a coup d’état, genius teenagers have found a way to hack into his dimension, his secret operatives in our world are on the run, and his Mrs. Claus is planning a divorce, or worse. On top of it all, his former slave/former servant, the mysterious Peter Pumpkin Eater (yes, from the nursery rhyme), has returned from his dictatorship escapades. Christmas is in danger, and Kringle hasn’t missed a delivery in a millennium, he isn’t about to start now!
The Elf Conspiracy is a little package exploding with suspense and plot development. The lack of chapter or section cut-off allows for the action to continuously unfold. Williams is very apt in wordsmithing and like a winter wizardess controls the tension expertly, making the reader eagerly await what could possibly happen next. Events unfold in both an unpredictable and logical succession, and plot devices are more-or-less seamless, making the story, despite it’s outlandish twits, perfectly believable.
Williams explores the mysteries behind the modern construct of Christmas, finding the sources of our imagination within the myth she brings to life. By fearlessly pulling in some of the historical origins behind the story of Santa Claus, the novel finds a mind-blowing anchor. These reminders of our own past bring the complexity that this flashy tale needs, without overpowering the modern flavour of the events portrayed.
William’s characters are busy bees, continuously on the move trying to solve the next problem on their hands. This sadly gives little time for character development, giving the cast a bland effect. The four teenagers feel a bit like cardboard cut-outs of their real selves, and our elf villains are merely punch lines. The depths explored between Kringle and Peter are about the only moments where a flash a true humanity jumps out of the page. Peter status as a freed slave in an elf’s dimension, left to help Kringle, an immortal and dominant figure who loves him like a son, but can never elevate to his level, is truly fascinating. This reviewer would even enjoy a book centered on this character dynamic alone.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
We know fully well who places the presents under the tree, yet some sort of charm keeps on twinking year after year. Something makes us keep on telling the story of the man in the sleigh, who loves children so much that he leaves them presents once a year. Find the magic again with Kass William’s novel The Elf Conspiracy, the first volume of the Hy Brasail Chronicle, at Books on Beechwood, or on Kindle or Kobo .