Warning: This article contains spoilers.
Joe Hill introduces and develops our main characters until we feel like we know and understand them but the truth is, I never really liked anyone of these characters but Lou. Lou is Vic’s ex-boyfriend and the father of her son Bruce Wayne (who just goes by Wayne). Lou isn’t really a hero type character and doesn’t really save anyone but he is willing to do things even if it means putting others before himself. I don’t really think that Hill intended for us to like Vic but we do still root for her because of her cause, saving her son from Manx.
Vic has a hard time coping with her father leaving her mother around the time she starts high school. Her father was a wife beater. You’d think she’d be glad that her mother wasn’t being beaten any more but no, she is angry at her mother and father and never really has a relationship with either of them.
Bing Partridge is a really gullible person with no self-esteem. He’d do anything for Charlie Manx and is too stupid to realize that Manx has never seriously considered to take him to Christmasland as he has promised. He assists Manx by drugging victims and “taking care” of the parent which is almost always kidnapped at the same time as the child.
Charlie Manx is a psycho in its true sense. He believes he is saving these children from growing old and possibly becoming a lost soul like their parents. He believes in his crazy mind that some day, these parents (who may not even be bad parents) will let their children stray into a life worst than they deserve.
This book was rather long and it did feel like two books put together to make one. In the first half we follow Vic’s childhood as she discovers her hidden talent to find missing things and to discover where things are. This eventually leads her to her encounter with Manx, and almost causes her death. The second part is the Vic after all these events of her life, a broken person, she struggles to figure out what is real and not real especially when she keeps getting phones calls that no one else can hear. She eventually tries to pull her life together (but here comes the cliché) and then Charlie Manx gets hold of her son.
Vic, together with Lou and some other minor characters, will try everything she can to get Wayne back, however, they start doing things the correct way rather late, and it is hard to tell whether Wayne will make it or not. This part was one of the parts that really annoyed me. I didn’t care to learn about every description of what Christmasland was. To me, at the end of the book in the climax, too many descriptions can take away from the readers fulfilment. It is for this reason that I couldn’t give this a perfect score. I did skip a lot of the descriptions and could not really enjoy the end of the book because it was so tormenting to read.
About the Author:
Joe Hill lives in New England. He has won two Bram Stoker Awards and has received the Ray Bradbury Fellowship. He is the author of Heart-Shaped Box, 20th Century Ghosts and the Comics Locke & Key. This particular book is a Bram Stoker Award Nominee for Superior Achievement in a Novel (2013) and Goodreads Choice Nominee for Horror (2013).