Father Christmas and Me by Matt Haig was supplied by Netgalley in exchange for my review. It will be published on October 12, 2017, but is available to pre-order now.
This is the third book in the Father Christmas series. I reviewed A Boy Called Christmas some time ago on the blog, but haven’t yet read the second book, The Girl Who Saved Christmas. I think it would be difficult to fully appreciate Father Christmas and Me without having read at least one of the previous books, despite the fact that Haig does provide flashbacks in the book, but I didn’t feel that having missed out the second volume hampered my enjoyment too much.
The book is set in the magical village of Elfhelm where Father Christmas lives with the elves, spending all year preparing for the most magical of events, Christmas Day. The story is told from the point of view of Amelia, the young orphan girl who was the heroine of The Girl Who Saved Christmas. She has come to live in Elfhelm with Father Christmas, but is struggling to fit in, feeling isolated and all too human. Her mistakes cost her dearly, as the evil Father Vodol uses her vulnerability to exploit the rift between humans and elves so that he can overthrow Father Christmas.
I love the fact that Matt Haig doesn’t shy away from the darker side of life, even in his more fantastical writing. There is always hope, always magic, always love, but it has to have something to conquer and he is very good at writing about the insidious, drip feed of evil masquerading as truth and righteousness. I was amused to see the character of Father Vodol having more than a hint of Murdoch/Trump about him in this outing.
Great illustrations by Chris Mould add to what is already a terrific read and make it that little bit more Christmassy. It’s like a modern take on a Victorian moral tale, but with added humour and invention. Perfect for readers aged 7 and up.