REVIEW by Elley: The Winter Riddle by Sam Hooker – Includes an Excerpt!

Once upon a time, the North Pole was a very noisy place. A kingdom cowered under the maniacal rule of the White Queen, The Vikings raided and pillaged as they were wont to do, and the Winter Witch avoided talking to any of them.

When her peace and quiet are obliterated by threats of war and Ragnarok, she’ll try anything to get them back. When casting spells to become nearly invisible and dealing with otherworldly powers fail, the Winter Witch needs to forge an alliance with Santa—a retired warrior who’s anything but jolly—to save the North Pole from calamity.

Will the Vikings take up arms against the frost giants? Will an evil necromancer keep the kingdom in the grip of fear? And for the love of Christmas, will everyone who isn’t the Winter Witch please stop meddling with dark forces beyond mortal comprehension for a bit?

Deck the halls and bar the doors! We’re in for a long winter’s night.

 

 

 

 

About the Book

The Winter Riddle
by Sam Hooker

Series
n/a; standalone

Genre
Adult
SciFi & Fantasy
Comedy & Humor

Publisher
Black Spot Books

Publication Date
November 1, 2018

Purchase Your Copy Today!
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Elley’s Review

I’m having a really hard time deciding what age group this is intended for. I got it thinking it was an adult novel, then I started reading it and going “Is this middle grade? No wait it must be adult… YA? No, that seems decidedly middle grade… But THAT is decidedly NOT middle grade content. …Well huh.” It was just that sometimes the humor was a little too on the nose, if that makes sense. I’m pretty sure this is an adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel with that particular quirky sense of humor that runs in the same vein as authors like Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and Piers Anthony. If you like the brand of humors of the aforementioned authors, then this book is for you!

I love how hilarious and absurd this book is, but still manages to have a coherent plot. Holiday hijinks at their finest for sure! I especially adore the glimpses of backstory Hooker gives of Santa Claus and his elves, and Santa’s dark past as a mighty warrior. It reminded me heavily of the version of Santa you see in the movie Rise of the Guardians (except I picture him younger and super hot). I am also 100% here for the teensy hints of romance between Santa and Volgha. Santa + Volgha 4eva.

Hooker’s world building is also really fun, playing off Norse mythology, the mythos around Santa Claus and the North Pole, and then his magic system is just zany and fun. (Especially the reason witches get brooms to fly, which I will not ruin for you – you’ll have to read the book!) I’d have loved some more explanation about why the rulers of the Kingdom of Aurora were each more mad than the last – but maybe that was in there and I was too overloaded by text to remember it. The first chapter or so is SUPER information overloaded and heavy, and is a tough slog to get through. But it’s worth it because once you break through that first icy layer, the rest of the going is pure powdery winter wonderland magical dream snow. (Yes, that wasa lot of adjectives, wasn’t it? You’re welcome.)

In summary: Adult book with a sense of humor that might appeal to those with a bit of a peculiar sense of humor (read: potty jokes), Norse mythology and vikings and Santa (oh my!), holiday hijinks, more Santa + Volgha please. Now I wait for a sequel in which we get more of Santa’s mighty warrior backstory, and also him and Volgha smooching. Preferably a lot. Because while this is a fantasy novel, I am a romance girl at heart. 😉

See All Reviews by Elley

 

 

Disclaimer

The review copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All titles reviewed on this blog are a fair and honest assessment of the book. No monetary compensation was received in exchange for this review. For more information regarding our review process, please visit our Review Policy & Review Request Submission page.

 

 

Excerpt

Santa’s Detritus

Santa’s Village was always giving off some sort of minor nuisance that she could overlook. The occasional thunderous boom, the erstwhile blinding flashes in the sky, and the rare fluctuation in the Northern Lights were all easy enough to forgive and forget, but the wreckage of some infernal machine gone clog dancing over her herb garden was just the sort of thing to land an insolent neighbor at the top of the revenge list.

Oh, yes! The spirits were simply philanthropic with cause for revenge of late. There must have been a surplus. It was shaping up to be a very busy winter.

Adding insult to injury, Santa probably had no idea that his detritus had inconvenienced anyone. If she did nothing about it, he’d most likely go on with his life as if nothing had happened. Not a chance! Walking away from this would require legs! Functional ones, with knees intact!

Volgha stood there, fuming. She wasn’t very handy in dealing with people. Plants, yes. Animals, to be sure. The occasional Viking was fine, as long as they were full of mead and beef and you toasted Valhalla with them once or twice. However, your standard, run-of-the-mill person came with all sorts of things. Feelings, needs, complications. It was disgusting, really.

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