Is that you, Santy Claus? No, it sure isn’t. Forget everything you know about Santa Claus because I have news for you, he sure isn’t a right jolly old elf. Try immortal, gorgeous and fey instead – a death fey to be exact. For those that haven’t read the previous books in Melanie Jackson’s lutin (goblin) series, this book probably won’t make much sense. She notes it will be her last in this series, so it’s not the place to start. Another word of warning: the ideas expressed in The Saint may not be for everyone. The romance takes a back seat as she wraps up the philosophical underpinnings of the series, which take center stage here.
A brief re-cap: alongside humans on Earth, there are also the fey, the goblins, trolls, and a few other interesting races as well. It was once believed that the true fey died out years ago, so all the fey are now of mixed blood. While they still have certain powers, they are not as all powerful as the full blooded fey. The goblins are at war with the humans and the fey and there are also factions of humans that wish to see all other races destroyed. All in all, the world desperately needs some love and goodwill. Enter the last true fey, Kris Kringle.
Adora Navarra is practically desperate for work. As a biographical author coming off of drug addiction, there isn’t much available. When the only job her agent can find is with some freak who says he is Santa Claus, or Kris Kringle to be exact, she isn’t exactly thrilled. When she meets Kris, he is absolutely nothing like she expected. He is extremely attractive and well built, and the nice cars and suits don’t look like reindeer or red velvet trimmed in white fur either. He is an interesting, attractive guy, except for his outrageous story that he is the immortal death fey who in his many incarnations has been spreading the message of love and kindness throughout history.
Kris Kringle really is Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, or whatever you want to call him. However, he made an enemy of a powerful goblin ruler who poisoned him and erased his memory. While Kris was out of commission, he received some very bad press, the whole fat guy in a red suit, for example. In addition, his very serious work in the world turned into nothing more than commercialism and greed. When his old friend, death fey Jack Frost, finds him wandering among the polar bears, and his memory slowly begins to return, he is furious. Anger is not a good thing for a death fey. Kris was such a powerful death fey, that had he not turned his power into an outlet for peace and love, he could have killed everyone on earth.
As in all the previous books, once two fey of the opposite are in close proximity to each other, the goddess of the sidhe takes over in order to preserve the race, forcing them together whether they like it or not. After all the time spent alone, Kris believes he has finally found his mate, and is happy about it. Kris is a great hero, understanding, a tad on the dangerous side, but supportive. Adora, well, she has some issues to work through.
When I say issues, they are not minor ones. Adora has an “Other” living inside her. Anyone else would call it a split personality. “Joy” has lived inside Adora since she was five. Adora had a traumatic childhood and Joy is supposedly there to help her as a result. Joy talks to Adora incessantly, and is constantly annoying, in my opinion. Near the end, Joy mentions to Adora that maybe they should try and “integrate”. No kidding. Perhaps some psychiatric help would be in order?
I mentioned the ideology earlier. Now, I have no real issues with this author’s ideology in particular, because I happen to agree, but even I felt it was over the top here. The romance between Kris and Adora has enough problems without overshadowing it with philosophical issues. Instead of trying to explain everything in the very last book, these underlying ideological issues should’ve been spread out more evenly.
I’ve had this same feeling with each of the books in this series; I start out thinking I’m going to like the books better than I ultimately do. All of them have interesting characters and plot lines, but they always end up going awry. This one in particular had more problems than some of the others. I never enjoyed Adora’s character, and I had trouble picturing her and Kris with a happy ending. There is very little romance between Adora and Kris, because hey, who can concentrate on kissing with a running commentary in your head all the time? Also the ultimate resolution to the goblin/human/fey wars was completely anticlimactic. The ongoing thread in all of these books has been the escalating violence and how to find peace. I felt completely cheated by the solution.
If you’ve read all the other books in the series, by all means, finish this one out, but I can’t recommend it in any other sense. I think it had great potential, but by the end, I was ready to see the last of the lutin empire. However, I won’t ever think of Santa Claus in the same way again.