As a general rule I don’t read Christmas fiction. I don’t enjoy obvious plots and feel-good preachiness. When I saw this book cover though, I was intrigued. I read the description and was all, “Is this Dickens fanfic?” Because it’s basically the story of Jacob Marley, Ebenezer Scrooge’s business partner, and how he was responsible for turning Scrooge into such a… Scrooge.  I figure anyone willing to take on a Dickens homage must have a lot of guts, and I’d like to read that.

This book is written in a similar style to Dickens’, but I seem to remember more humor and wordplay in A Christmas Carol. Also, in A Christmas Carol, the preachiness is more subtle. In this story, at about the middle of the book when Marley is dying/dies (hardly a spoiler, he’s a ghost in the first book, yeah?) the whole story changes and the reader is bashed over the head with blatant preaching. It was insulting to the reader. If the book had been marked juvenile or YA I would have forgiven the sermonizing a bit (only a bit), but it’s in the adult section so I assume the author meant for adults to read it.

The story, the characters, the length were all well done. The ending, however, seemed rushed, and borrowed heavily from A Christmas Carol, I mean, of course it did, but the author has Marley following on with Scrooge as Scrooge goes along with his three spirits. It seemed kind of lazy to me that the author uses these characters and then uses the same ending. I’m not saying he should have changed the ending of Dickens’ work (of course not), I’m just saying he should have ended his story before Dickens’ story started.

I liked the idea of the book more than I enjoyed reading the book.

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