Gothic Blue Book VI: A Krampus Carol
Presented by Burial Day Books comes a new collection of tales based on the holiday and winter season called, Gothic Blue Book VI: A Krampus Carol. Burial Day is such an interesting indie publisher. They have been publishing the Gothic Blue Books for a few years now, the inspiration being the short fiction tales called “Shilling Shockers” and “Sixpenny Shockers” of the 18th and 19th centuries. I was so excited to read this collection, as the winter season often comes with its own lore and traditions. Many of the tales in this work surround the figure of Krampus, while others pull on the emotions of the Christmas season, as well as pagan rituals surrounding Yule. There are 31 stories, one for every day of December. This is a collection that is best read at night, by your tree or a fire, with some hot cocoa. Just make sure the windows are closed, you don’t want Krampus sneaking in from the cold.
The Night of Epiphany by Nico Bell
A girl and her father are celebrating Epiphany in the Austrian countryside. When the girl is frustrated with carrying on her late mother’s traditions, she meets the mysterious Frau Perchta, and learns the consequence of breaking tradition. I loved the winter atmosphere in this story. I have often dreamt of spending a wintry night in a cabin in the countryside, a festival occurring in the local town, the tree lit up in the corner, and a fire and feast waiting in the next room. However, I am not in the business of getting in trouble with Frau Perchta. The atmosphere was amazingly written in this story , and it is a reminder to always keep your family traditions, no matter how ancient they are.
When the Leaves Go by Die Booth
A young man is not looking forward to seeing his family this Christmas, but sets out to find a gift for a homophobic cousin he could care less about anyway. He happens upon a strange shop, with an odd person and unique gifts. Maybe Christmas won’t turn out so bad this year. This is a relatable story for many people who are fed up with family bigots, and a unique tale by Booth.
Sugarplum by Kevin M. Folliard
A man on business in England is stalling his trip home, almost hoping his flight gets cancelled. He is unhappy in his marriage, untruthful, and seems like all around a shitty person. He stops in a bar for a drink, where the bar owner offers him a special drink, slightly purple in hue, called Sugarplum. Soon he begins spilling the truth, and he finds he may get his wish, he might not be going home after all. I loved the setting of this. I always imagine there are people out there, alone at a bar getting drunk on Christmas Eve, bitching about the ones that love them, cursing the world. The catch here was that this bar was waiting for just that person. A truly delicious and sweet tale.
A Creature was Stirring by Samson Stormcrow Hayes
The next tale that really stuck with me was the one directly after. This collection would not be complete without a mischievous child wanting to get a glimpse of Santa. When he sneaks downstairs, and opens a box of Krampus Krunch, he knows something is off. A cautionary tale for those looking to stay up and wait for Santa. Truly enjoyed this take on some classic Krampus. It is a strong staple in the collection.
Letters to Krampus by Matt Jean
A naughty child thinks he is pulling one over on Santa this year, little does he know Krampus has other plans in store. I’m loving all of these Krampus tales, each different from the other, but all of them so enjoyable. In this story two brothers are trying to hide from Krampus, and just when you think the oldest brother couldn’t be much naughtier, he takes it up one more notch. Matt Jean gave a nice twist in the end of this tale.
A Very Good Actress by Sarah Michelson
An aspiring actress takes a job for the holiday as a nanny. The family she is working for is spending time at their beach house. She vows to give her all in this role as “nanny”. Eventually she beings to lose herself, but will she fully let herself go? Although this wasn’t a specifically Christmas themed tale, it takes place during the bleak winter season, and I really enjoyed that. Many times during the winter those gray days can be tough, but what happens when the darkness calls to you? Loved this tale. I felt like I was there at this wintry ocean. A perfect, moody story.
Christmas Eve by K.R. Smith
A woman and her child are journeying through the cold to reach the warmth of a nunnery. Along the way she is tempted by Krampus to give up her child. I enjoyed this tale of strength and love, mixed along with of course, horror!
All of the writers of this collection worked very hard to create these amazing stories. Cynthia and Gerardo Pelayo, the owners of Burial Day, also curated an excellent collection, and I am looking forward to reading much more from Burial Day!
Read about the authors of the collection here
Read about Burial Day Books here
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