Bookshots: 'Rudolph!: He is the Reason for the Season' by Mark Teppo
Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review
Rudolph!: He is the Reason for the Season
Who Wrote It?
Mark Teppo, author of the Codex of Souls series.
Plot in a Box:
Rudolph leads the reindeer in a commando raid on the afterlife to rescue Santa’s soul.
Invent a new title for this book:
The Red Trail of Rudolph
Read this if you liked:
“Red Sleigh Down”: that episode of South Park where Jesus had to rescue Santa from Iraq.
Meet the book’s lead:
Rudolph was the only reindeer to survive when Santa’s nuclear-powered sleigh had a meltdown in 1964, giving him an irradiated red glow. While he didn’t get to play any reindeer games, he became the team’s fearless leader, and inspires eight heavily-armed reindeer and one tenacious elf to literally follow him to Hell and back to save Christmas.
Said lead would be portrayed by:
A CGI creature voiced by Bradley “Rocket Raccoon” Cooper.
Setting: Would You Want To Live There?
Well, it’s Hell, so no. But the first chapter takes place at the North Pole, an ultra-futuristic melding of Disneyland and Google, homey and charming with all the modern amenities. It sounds lovely, but even Santa had to take a break from there every now and then.
What was your favorite sentence?
“I’m Rudolph,” the reindeer said. “And we’re Santa’s team.”
And then he head-butted Satan.
Rudolph! is a weird, wild, ridiculous ride through a funhouse mirror version of Christmas folklore. The legend of Santa has been reimagined through a modern sci-fi lens, and from the North Pole to the bowels of Hell, it’s a fascinating place to explore. Teppo takes the reader behind the scenes of Christmas, laying bare the science, magic and elven politics that make the holiday season happen. He portrays Santa Claus as more of an old soldier with a big heart than the typical wise and kindly grandfather, and I can’t recall a time the fat man has been better fleshed out as a character in fiction. All of the reindeer have distinct personalities as well, and listening to their banter is a great deal of fun. The real star, of course, is that irradiated irritable reindeer Rudolph, who comes off as a yuletide version of Wolverine. He’s tougher than fruitcake and totally fearless, and when the rest are ready to give up, he shames them into soldiering on. He doesn’t lead the team just because he glows in the dark. The final quarter of the book is a drag in pacing and narratively unfulfilling, but I still enjoyed the rest of it immensely. If you think you’re over Christmas stories, Rudolph! makes a compelling argument to the contrary.
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