Saturday, 17 December 2011

Book Review: A Karma Girl Christmas by Jennifer Estep

Title: A Karma Girl Christmas
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Book #3.5 in the Bigtime series
Release Date: 25 September 2011
Length: 14,000 words
Source: review copy provided by author
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon

Grade: 4.5 stars

Novellus superbus!
Goodreads appetizer: It's Christmas time in Bigtime, New York, but society reporter Carmen Cole isn't in the mood to celebrate since her husband, Sam, has to go on a business trip and might not make it home for the holiday. But Carmen has plenty to keep her busy, since she moonlights as Karma Girl, a member of the Fearless Five superhero team.

On Christmas Eve, Carmen, as Karma Girl, is assigned to guard toys, clothes, food, and more that are intended for needy children and their families. But an ubervillain also has his eye on the toys and plans to steal and then sell them to the highest bidder. Carmen will have to use all her empathic powers just to stay alive, not to mention make sure Christmas is a happy one for all the kids who are counting on her. It's all in a night's work for a superhero ...

Note: This is a 14,000-word story that takes place after the events of Jinx, the third book in the Bigtime series. It can also be read as a stand-alone holiday story.
My Thoughts: You might recall my exuberant enthusiasm when I recently discovered Jennifer Estep's Bigtime series, so being the Christmas-fan that I am I was very much looking forward to this holiday novella of the series.

A Karma Girl Christmas is a bite size fun story. It is short, it is cute, and is very entertaining! All the characters from the previous books are back, and as the ubervillains never rest, the Fearless Five superheroes have taken it upon themselves to guard the Christmas toy donations for the orphans so they don't get stolen before Christmas. This year it is Carmen's aka Karma Girl's responsibility, and as a brand new rookie superhero she absolutely wants to be up to the task and prove she can be trusted with such a simple assignment. But of course nothing is as simple as it sounds...

At night when Carmen is guarding the toys, someone breaks into the store: it is the Mintilator, one of the city's C list ubervillains:

The Mintilator was a germophobe more than anything else. Usually, he lurked outside of public restrooms and either berated or physically dragged folks back inside to make them wash their hands if they hadn’t already. Occasionally, he’d make them floss too.
This had me laughing out loud! :-D

"We get never get any press. No calendars, no photo shoots, no video games, no action figures, nothing. And we’re out there every single day, pounding the pavement and doing bad things. But do we get any recognition? Hell, no."

He is fed up that all his bad deeds aren't recognized and feared so he decided to do something truly evil for the holidays: steal the toys and clothes donated for Christmas to poor children.

As with Karma Girl I had a blast with Jennifer Estep's chuckle out loud funny and playful writing, the story is amusing, full of pop culture winks (and even Jennifer Estep's other series, the Elemental Assassin and Mythos Academy series get mentioned: "barbecue flown in from this restaurant called the Pork Pit down in Ashland" ;-p) and witty quips.

A Karma Girl Christmas is book #3.5 in the Bigtime series, of course you will enjoy it more if you have read the previous novels, but as Jennifer Estep does a great recap of who the different characters are and their superhero roles you won't feel lost if this is your introduction to the series. 

Verdict: A Karma Girl Christmas  is a perfect holiday themed story: it has adventure, it has humour and the way the story is set around the holiday is not forced. If you are looking for a light and fun holiday read I encourage you to pick up A Karma Girl Christmas, I'm sure you'll enjoy it! :-) (just be warned that this is quite a short story)

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Cover: 8/10 - festive and atmospheric

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