Without even reading Dickens's A Christmas Carol, we all know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the heartless, avaricious elder who is visited on Christmas Eve by an apparition of his dead business partner Jacob Marley and three other ghosts, of Christmas past, present, and future. In the end, we learn the ghostly encounter changes Scrooge for the better. Scrooge and Marley is a continuation of the story, picking up right where Dickens left off. Scrooge is shown the following Christmas leading a life of generosity and friendliness, embracing the true spirit of Christmas, and living up to the expectations of the reader based on the end of A Christmas Carol. But now, for the second Christmas in a row, Marley has returned to the material world, only this time to enlist the help of Scrooge. Marley has stepped up from the "darkness" (hell) to the "shadows" (between heaven and hell), and has but four links on his chain remaining. In order to enter the Light, he must rid himself of the four links by reversing sins he had committed. So Scrooge becomes Marley's agent, assisting Marley in doing good deeds that not only benefit Marley, but also enlighten and change Scrooge yet again.
I thought the story was a little too cheesy and predictable until I remembered all Christmas stories are as such! Just like its precursor, Scrooge and Marley successfully conveys the spirit of Christmas in a heartwarming fashion, whether you read it in December or June. The continuation was seamless and a very quick read, with no prolonged action. However, I did find the book somewhat predictable with little nuance and an ending almost too happy, similiar to a Disney movie. The writing was excellent yet too straightforward, as if going step by step (i.e- "First this happened, then that happened"). As a piece of literature, Scrooge and Marley isn't complex in nature, but in essence is a wonderful Christmas tale, and I'll probably read it again when the holiday season rolls around.