Saturday, October 25, 2014

Santa Claus vs The Aliens by James Cardona

This review was written by: B
Received: Free e-book from the author
Publication Date of Book: June 2013 (paperback version)
Pages: 120 (paperback version)
Stars: (5/5)

"A person can only play the hand that they are dealt and my cards...they weren't so good you see."

One day, Fundy witnesses a strange object falling out of the sky.  It gets stuck in the nearby mud, and a strange man comes out of it.  Fundy first believes the object to be something like an asteroid and hopes to sell it for money, but when he realizes a person is in it, he helps the man pull his strange vehicle out of the brown goo that it's embedded in with his own horse, Paulo.  To thank Fundy and to repay him for his generous services, the peculiar stranger bestows upon him a ring and tells Fundy that he can call upon him anytime he needs help for he will surely show up to assist him.

Fast forwarding to present day, Edwin, Fundy's adolescent son, is now in possession of the ring.  After his encounter with the strange man, Fundy and his wife moved to the United States hoping to find happiness, but instead they eventually get divorced, placing Edwin in a children's home when neither of them could take care of their own son, but before Edwin was sent to a home, Fundy gave his son the ring.  The father had tried to call upon the man he met long ago many times before, but he never came in all of that time.  Now several years after his divorce, Fundy has remarried, had a little girl, acquired a decent job, and wishes for Edwin to come back home.  Alas, the boy cannot bring himself to do this.  He feels as though his home is no longer his own if a strange woman is living there.  Edwin knows that he will no longer see his father and actual mother together ever again.  It's just not right to him.

Out of frustration, Edwin throws away the ring in a park during a winter's day.  However, he soon finds himself feeling guilty and returns to search for it on Christmas Eve, and, just after finding the ring, he encounters two extremely odd individuals who seem less than human.  It's obvious to him that their anatomy and speech pattern are completely off.  Edwin flees from the scene once he has the ring back in his possession, only to find himself later followed by these creepy creatures.  No matter how many turns he makes, routes he takes, or back alleys he hides in, they always find him.  With them hot on his trail, Edwin goes into a Macy's store, rushing to find safety.  He has no idea what they want from him.  Once he finally arrives in an area where children are lining up to talk to the Santa stationed in the store, Edwin is given special attention by the man who is supposed to deliver toys all around the world to children everywhere on Christmas Eve.  Santa gives him a knowing look and tells him that he will never stop being followed.  What in the world is going on?  Who are those people that are chasing him?  What's with this Santa, why does he seem so authentic, and most importantly, how does he know about Edwin being tracked down if he never mentioned it?!  Read Santa Clause vs The Aliens for the answers to these pressing questions!

I have to start off by saying that this book was so enjoyable!  Despite the fact that it's actually geared towards a younger audience than myself, I found it to be a really fun and great read for a person who's older than the targeted age range.  I can definitely see a younger person reading it just as much as a whole family with people of varying ages sitting and reading it aloud together during the Christmas season.  It has many great qualities in it including a Christmas message that is more subtle than boisterous and overbearing.  I highly recommend it!

My favorite aspect of this book was how it took place during the twentieth century.  While we all think we know the story of Santa Clause, Cardona put an unexpected yet fascinating twist on the origin of this cherished yet timeless figure.  I just really got into the Christmas mood while reading this story despite the fact that's is only October.  Alas, I still have a couple more months to go.

There is simply something about the character Edwin that I really fell in love with and latched on to.  Perhaps it was his family situation and the decision that he had to make when deciding whether to live with his reconstructed family or stay at a children's home that naturally drew me to him.  Also, the slight peek into Fundy's past was a rich addition to the novel.  Then there were the aliens!  What child doesn't like either Santa Claus or aliens?  After you put the two together you get one smash adventure for the whole family to enjoy!

Overall, I have to say Santa Claus vs The Aliens was an imaginative, entertaining, and original story placed in a fast paced and thoroughly genuine tale of love, family, and Christmas.

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