Fourteen-year-old Maggie Ogden thinks she knows everything there is to Grandfather Clement Clarke Moore and his legendary poem,’Twas the Night Before Christmas. But all this changes Christmas Eve 1854 when Chelsea Manor receives an unexpected visitor – Henry Livingston; who’s searching for evidence to prove that his grandfather, Major Henry, is the true author of the famous holiday poem. The night takes a strange turn when Maggie and Henry come across another intruder in Chelsea Manor. After following the peculiar boy down a secret opening within the fireplace and through an underground tunnel full of mechanical sleighs, Maggie and Henry discover Poppel, a hidden village under New York City. Faced with the deadly challenges presented by the legend of The Three Sisters, Maggie and Henry are forced to play by Poppel’s rules and those who run the cursed village. And they quickly learn that not only is leaving Poppel harder than arriving, but there are even more dangerous lies and mysterious truths to Clement Clarke Moore, Christmas, and a menacing creature called Krampus than anyone could have known.
Sissy: If you are wondering if this book has anything to do with Krampus, the Christmas horror flick that came out last weekend, the answer is no, mostly. While the Krampus figure is an evil being who universally embodies the ant-Christmas, anti-Santa spirit in many legends and literary incarnations, this particular story-line is completely different from the one in the movie. And I am delighted that we are reviewing this extremely interesting YA Christmas fantasy with a teensy dark twist. It is a whole other direction than and cleanses the palate of the holiday romances that we have featured. So deliciously different! Tell them how, Bubby!
Bubby: First off, there’s no real romance. Secondly, our characters are 20 and younger, mostly younger. Thirdly, it’s a magical, fantastical new take on the legend of Santa Claus and the elves. Just take everything you think you know about that dear, red-suited fat man and throw it out the window! I found it interesting that we don’t find out who the three sisters are until quite a ways into the book, and the Krampus only pops up briefly here and there. As it turns out, there’s historical basis for all the non-magical bits of this story. Did Clement C. Moore really write Twas the Night Before Christmas? I guess we’ll never know.
Sissy: The whole Three Sisters tale is wondrously convoluted that I found myself having to go back and make sure I had all the pieces right in my mind. The cover is so fabulous (probably my favorite cover of the year) and begs you to read the book. I also would have liked to have a map of Poppel and colored pictures of scenes and characters to go along with my read (why couldn’t you have been an artist, Bubby?)–as it was I had to fill in all the marvelous images with my imagination. And what imagination author Sonia Halbach must have to have created this exciting story! I thoroughly enjoyed the way she weaved the controversy of “Twas the Night before Christmas”‘ authorship into a complex and deep narrative with a delightful and surprising twist. The Three Sisters is a delicious Christmas read for Young Adults and Adults alike.
Bubby: I’m sorry, Sissy. It just wouldn’t be fair to be this intelligent, beautiful, musically and culinarily gifted, and did I mention beautiful, and be an artist on top of it all.
Sissy: So glad to see the therapy worked.
Bubby: You’re just jealous. I, too, thoroughly enjoyed this enchanting Christmas adventure. I can’t wait to read the further adventures of the descendents of the three sisters. Hurry up, Sonia Halbach!
Click HERE to buy The Three Sisters (The Krampus Chronicles: Book One) by Sonia Halbach