picture from audible

Narrated by David Reimer & Jessica Weyman

Run Time: 6 hours and 45 mins

Genre: fantasy


The back cover copy/book description pretty much tells you the story. There’s a magical prison break, Santa Claus gets murdered, and Shane Conner is chosen to take up the mantel.

Additional Comments:

  • It’s imaginative.
  • The beginning doesn’t seem to fit. It’s dark, bloody, and almost like a horror story. Then, we flip gears fast to generic YA fantasy, complete with Polar Express vibes, then Harry Potter off to Hogwarts school of magic vibes.
  • I heard the audio version. Both narrators did okay. They don’t have a huge range of character voices but they got the gist across.
  • The story had some pacing issues. There was a lot of Shane sitting down to eat something or other and having very long conversations learning about the world. Those details were often cool, but it dragged.
  • There are a LOT of descriptions. Some are beautiful. Some are way over the top. I think we got an entire paragraph on the taste of hot cocoa and a few pages on what the train looked like.
  • Shane got kind of boring. He started neutral and picked up on everything he learned like a fish in water. The lack of struggle didn’t lead to much growth. He didn’t have many ties to the real world, so there wasn’t much to miss when he stepped out of it.
  • There are a lot of tie-ins to classic fantasy heroes and villains like Morgana le Fay and Merlin.
  • The author obviously gave a lot of thought to little details like what makes reindeer fly.  
  • There’s a story arc, then it just ends with a lot of loose ends. I know there are more books in the series, but I generally like more closure in stories.
  • The big, climatic fight we were working towards was okay. I’m still not getting a heck of lot of details as to the bad guy’s motivations.


If you like frequent references to other types of fantasy stories and all the classic races (elves, dwarves, etc), I’d recommend waiting for a combination book because one feels incomplete.

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