Wednesday, December 24, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Santa's Little Helper by H.D. Gordon

I usually choose books to read based on the season, and try to read a Christmas-themed horror novel each December. This year I read Santa's Little Helper by H.D. Gordon. The Elf on a Shelf is already disturbing - watching you and reporting back to Santa - and this novel takes it to a whole new level of creepy with a demonic version.

Santa's Little Helper is a toy elf and book that appear on the doorsteps of four families in a small town called Peculiar. The children in each family quickly realize there's something sinister about the elf and get rid of it. But they find out it's not that easy to get rid of him when he comes back to terrorize their families.

The book has some unsettling scenes with Santa's Little Helper taking the shape of the children's worst fears including an abusive father and Special Ed (a corpse named Ed which I found to be pretty scary). The chapters involving being snowed in with Santa's Little Helper were also creepy - especially when the power went out.

There were a few too many characters. I had difficulty keeping track of which child belonged to which family. And since each chapter features a different family, it took a while for me to remember what happened four chapters ago. I think the novel would've been more effective with just one or two families. It was also unrealistic that each of the 5-year-olds could use such a large vocabulary - it would've been easier to believe if the kids had been older.

The ending feels abrupt and I wish there had been a better explanation of the origins of Santa's Little Helper. There's a bit of backstory about how Peculiar is a town where strange things happen, but I still wanted to know more about the origins of Santa's Little Helper.

Despite those few complaints, Santa's Little Helper is a good Christmas horror read. I realize it's a little late to review this, being Christmas Eve and all, but I just finished reading it today.  

Rating: 4/5