Author: James Cardona
Pages: 120
Published: October 5, 2014 (First Published January 1, 2013)
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, YA
Rating: 3/5

This is my second time reading something from this author and I wanted to love this story as much as I loved Under the Shadow of Darkness, but unfortunately I didn’t.

Edwin is a little boy staying in a boarding home run by nuns. He has a friend there named Frankie, if you could even call Frankie a friend since he is more of a bully than anything else. Edwin has a family that loves him and would like him to move back home, but he doesn’t feel comfortable doing that ever since his dad got re-married.

Edwin carries a ring with him that his father gave him before coming to the boarding home and never really thought much about the ring until one night when he accidentally got his blood on the ring. After that Edwin began noticing that these strange gray men were following him everywhere and he couldn’t escape them.

One of the many times that Edwin is on the run, he bumps into Santa Claus at a local department store while Santa is on his break from taking pictures with little kids. Soon Santa and Edwin realize they have a lot more in common than they thought and now Edwin has to decide what family really means to him.

This was a cute story, but I had a few problems with it. The first problem was the amount of run-on sentences in this book. At times there were entire pages with only one or two sentences. It definitely kept taking me out of the story and felt more like an oversight than anything else.

The second problem I had with the story was the age of Edwin. Edwin is supposed to be a 14 year old boy, but it definitely read more like Edwin was younger than that. To me the story made more sense if I believed Edwin was really 10 or younger. Again, a minor problem.

The final issue I had with the story was the random religious bits thrown in at the end. They felt completely out of place and I’m not really sure why they were in the story.

Those three things combined made me give the story a 3/5. Overall though I really did enjoy reading about Edwin and Santa. I thought it was a cute idea for a story and definitely one that I could see myself enjoying if I had read it when I was younger. James Cardona is a fantastic fantasy/science fiction writer so it’s a little strange to see a shorter story by this author have more issues than his longer installment in the Apprentice Series.

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