Saturday, November 27, 2021

Review - Holiday Spirit

Holiday Spirit

by Tyler J Gray
Date: 2021
Publisher: Archive of Our Own
Reading level: A
Book type: short story
Pages: 7703 words
Format: e-book
Source: Archive of Our Own

Christmas morning kids open their presents, only to scream in horror. Someone has ruined Christmas. Who? Why? Where is Santa Claus?

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a bit of a confused (and confusing) story about a horrid Christmas morning, a centuries-old grudge, and the magic of belief. It... doesn't work.

I'll give the author an A for effort, but there are just so many problems with this. It's a story about believing in Santa Claus, and yet there are graphic descriptions of violent and some rather scary monsters. (Don't even get me started on the spiders.) I'm not sure who the audience is supposed to be; it seems like a story that should be for children, but it's completely inappropriate for them due to the graphic content.

The writing is also technically pretty bad. Most of the punctuation is wrong. Getting through it all was a bit of a slog.

I think the author was trying to make a statement here about the Christmas spirit and commercialism and believing in something good and pure... but the whole storyline that involved beating animals with sticks and somebody losing their hands didn't seem all that Christmas-like to me.

I did, however, love one bit at the beginning, though it probably wasn't intended to be so badass. Upon being beset by spiders on Christmas morning, the parents have the following exchange:

“What are we going to do!” mom yells.

Dad thinks for a few seconds, rubbing his chin and blowing a dangling hair out of his eyes.

“Bomb the house?”

Well, that escalated quickly. (They were talking about a bug bomb, but I still like to imagine they were talking about dynamite or something. With some spiders, that's the only reasonable course of action.)

Overall, this needs work. The heavy-handed messaging, violence, and poor editing combine to make this a bit of a chore to read. But I'm still chuckling over the mental image of this couple blowing up their house over a few spiders, so I did get some enjoyment out of it.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing & Editing: 1/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall Rating: 2.14 out of 5 ladybugs

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