This is a great introduction to the horror genre for those children brave enough to take a seat at the table of the Christmas Dinner of Souls. Enter if you dare…
On Christmas Eve night the worst of the worst gather at Old Souls College for an evening of terrifying storytelling. The prize for the best story…the chance to enter the catacombs and search for the legendary Dead Man’s Jabberers. At this year’s gathering there will be one extra guest, specially invited by the Dean as punishment for throwing stones through the college windows. As usual, eleven-year-old Lewis wasn’t the only one causing trouble but he was the only one that got caught and that is why he finds himself working for the Dean on Christmas Eve night. But the gathering at Old Souls College is no place for a young boy and Lewis is going to have to find a way out before the dinner is over or he might never make it out alive.
This is is the most delightfully disgusting of Christmas reads. Don’t expect to find turkey dinners, presents under the tree, a procession of reindeer or chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Ross Montgomery has dreamt up a Christmas of nightmares with a gingerbread house of horrors, poisoned drinks, screams coming from the walls, things coming back from the dead and a guest list of revolting characters.
The guests are wild, downing wine and gin like it is water, throwing their cutlery around and howling like crazed beasts. As the guests become more and more deranged, the meals get more ghastly and the stories get more gruesome and it seems that time is running out for Lewis - you’ll have to read for yourself to see if Lewis makes it out alive.
The story itself is largely made up of seven short stories as seven of the chosen guests compete to the tell the best tale. Each story is more spine-chilling and haunting than the last and there is enough to frighten even the bravest of readers. Word of caution - not suitable for the more sensitive souls. A narrative helps move the overall story along and is a mix of humour and horror which makes for ghastly good fun. The creepy illustrations are by one of my favourite illustrators, David Litchfield, and add to the frightening fun of the book.
I absolutely loved it and so will fans of the Goosebumps series of books, as will anyone who fancies a good fright on a Christmas night.
Recommended for 9+.