by Tony Bertauski
I didn't actually expect much from this one after getting it free, then I started reading and got caught up in it pretty much immediately.
It made me stretch my imagination and continually surprised me with some very original fantasy elements. I found it very interesting at first, but it began to lag around 19%. Too much gloating from the villain, obvious plot points dragging out. That sort of thing. I began feeling like I just wanted to get it finished to complete this year's Christmas reads before December ended.
With a story like this, you pretty well know what the ending will be before you start. The story of how Santa Claus becomes Santa Claus. The story is all about the journey. There were some interesting ideas; elves broken into factions, fantastical magic that might have been a little too convenient at times and the story of a family going on an adventure to the North Pole that goes horribly wrong. I did find that premise a stretch. Only an idiot would make such a journey insufficiently prepared.
Overall I thought this writer can write and I'll try something else by him, considering he sent the first books of three other series for free, but I think I'll give his other winter character books a miss (one about Jack Frost, the other about a snowman). The plot for Claus seemed too forced and I expect those might be similar. It will be interesting to see what he does with stories that don't have to fit into a mold though. There is some definite writing talent there and I'm definitely up for giving him another try.