The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
Christmas Dinner of Souls
Publisher: Faber & Faber
This is Christmas Eve – but not like any you've known.
When you’re as naughty as Lewis, you don't get the kind of cosy Christmas you might have hoped for. After he breaks a college window when he throws some stones, his punishment is to serve at the annual feast at Soul's College.
But this is no ordinary dinner party. The guests are unruly and everyone's howling like banshees. Lewis realises that this is a secret club: for people who despise things like children, happiness and, above all, Christmas.
Each guest must tell the others the most terrible story they know – while Lewis listens and wonders whether he'll make it out alive...
Although it has an overarching narrative, Christmas Dinner of Souls is also a collection of hair-raising and spine-tingling short stories. Some of these are deliciously, deliriously ghoulish, and perhaps not suitable for more sensitive children. However, if yours is the sort that hungers for chills and thrills, they will lap this up.
Ross Montgomery's language is poetic and striking and some of the imagery settles deep in the bones. But fear not: there is enough humour here to keep things the right side of rousing, and David Litchfield's hilariously creepy illustrations also add to the fun.