Antony's Library #12 - The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder

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Started Reading: 22nd November 2016

Finished Reading: 14th December 2016

Number of Pages: 160

Published: October 1992

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This review may contain spoilers. You have been warned!

For the final book of the 2016 reading challenge, I decided I wanted to read something Christmassy, befitting the time of year.

The first point of interest of this book, is that every chapter is a day in an advent calendar. This means, you could in theory enjoy this book like an advent calendar and reach a chapter every day of December.

The reason it is laid out like that, is because the book is about a boy, Joachin, who has a mysterious advent calendar where each day reveals a new piece of a story about a girl, Elizabet, who disappeared and traveled to biblical times to the birth of Jesus - you can't get more Christmas themed than this, she even meets the original Santa Claus!

Each day reveals a new part of the journey. The journey is from Norway to Bethlehem where each step not only moves them through space but also through time. Along the way, they pick up angels, shepherds and the 3 wise men as well as see the many ancient cities across time.

There is also an added mystery as Joachin and his parents try and figure out who the girl is (as a real girl with the same name disappeared many years ago) as well as who the flower seller, John, who made advent calendar is and where he got the story from.

Despite this book being clearly aimed for children and so somewhat "simple". I still really enjoyed it and I always love a book that has a mystery to it thats not revealed until the end.

It was a nice ending. I felt almost weary from the journey that they took as they approached the stables. Sadly, all the magic was lost as John then explains how he made the calendar and how he met the girl who went missing who inspired the story. Turns out most of it was just from his imagination and by the end of the book, the missing girl returned the town as an older woman.

A part of me enjoyed the magical aspect of it and felt that the explanation was a bit underwhelming.

Nevertheless, it was a nice light-hearted read with the spirit of Christmas well and truly embedded throughout.

Next Time

Well this was actually the last book of my reading challenge! I am going to take a break from it over Christmas and begin the 2017 on the 1st of January - but I am not sure what yet. There will be one more post in 2 weeks that wraps up this little series.


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