Author: Claire Legrand
Publication: September 30th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult ~ Fantasy ~ Retelling
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Cover Rating: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
Darkly romantic and entirely enchanting, this reimagining of The Nutcracker from Claire Legrand brims with magic, love, and intrigue. New York Times bestselling author Marissa Meyer (Cinder) says “this is not your grandmother’s Nutcracker tale.”
After her mother is brutally murdered, seventeen-year-old Clara Stole is determined to find out what happened to her. Her father, a powerful man with little integrity, is a notorious New York City gang lord in the syndicate-turned-empire called Concordia. And he isn’t much help.
But there is something even darker than Concordia’s corruption brewing under the surface of the city, something full of vengeance and magic, like the stories Clara’s godfather used to tell her when she was a little girl. Then her father is abducted and her little sister’s life is threatened, and Clara accidentally frees Nicholas from a statue that has been his prison for years. Nicholas is the rightful prince of Cane, a wintry kingdom that exists beyond the city Clara has known her whole life.
When Nicholas and Clara journey together to Cane to retrieve her father, Clara encounters Anise, the queen of the faeries, who has ousted the royal family in favor of her own totalitarian, anti-human regime. Clara finds that this new world is not as foreign as she feared, but time is running out for her family, and there is only so much magic can do...
Winterspell was fantastic! I can't even begin to explain this amazing story. I knew this was going to be a great read but I hadn't imagined it being as good as it was. I loved the story, the characters, the writing and the echoes of The Nutcracker story. Oh and let's not forget the unbelievably excellent world building. Just perfection!
Let's talk about Clara. I really liked her. At first I thought her a bit weak when she let herself be pushed around by Concordia, especially Patricia Plum and Dr. Victor but she sure made a huge change, gradually, through the book. It was character building in its finest. And I love her she gave Plum and Dr. Victor a taste of their own medicine in the end.
There's quite a few side characters that play a pretty big role in this book like Prince Nicholas. I liked him, but I wasn't too fond of him when he made some decisions that didn't sit well with me. But still, he and Clara had some really great chemistry going and I love that in characters that are or will get romantically involved.
Then there's Godfather Drosselmeyer. He was a great character. He kept a lot of things from Clara but I still liked him anyway. He was like a second father to her and he was just so interesting to read about!
And finally, there's Anise, the faery queen. I had expected to really hate her but I ended up being a little sympathetic to her in some way. I do believe she was really lonely, afraid and just wanted a friend. But she was kinda crazy though. Crazy and evil.
Like I said it has amazing world building. It really does. I was so impressed by it because it's been a while since I read a book with at least some decent world building.
The ending was perfect. I was getting kind of worried about what would happen with Clara and if she would ever return to Cane. To know if she does you'll just have to read the book and find out on your own.
The only slightly negative thing I felt when reading was that the book was so long. For the last 40% of it I was ready for it to be over but that's just me.
Overall, Winterspell was a dark, greatly imagined with elements of steampunk, retelling of The Nutcracker that left be speechless. It was unlike anything I've read before and I loved it. Claire Legrand did an fantastic job with this tale that almost everyone knows. I simply loved it!
About the Author:
Claire Legrand used to be a musician until she realized she couldn't stop thinking about the stories in her head. Now a writer, Ms. Legrand can often be found typing with purpose at her keyboard, losing herself in the stacks at her local library, or embarking upon spontaneous adventures to lands unknown. Her first novel is THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, a New York Public Library Best Book for Children in 2012. Her second novel, THE YEAR OF SHADOWS, a ghost story for middle grade readers, is available now. Her third novel, WINTERSPELL, will follow on September 30, 2014, with its prequel e-novella, SUMMERFALL, releasing August 26, 2014. She is one of the four authors behind THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES, an anthology of dark middle grade fiction due out May 27, 2014 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins. Claire lives in New Jersey with a dragon and two cats. Visit her at claire-legrand.com and at enterthecabinet.com.