Darkly romantic and entirely enchanting, this reimagining of The Nutcracker from Claire Legrand brims with magic, love, and intrigue—and “includes a Victorian mob princess/warrior heroine, an alternate New York City, steampunk faeries and an epic multigenerational battle” (Kirkus Reviews).
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...
New York Times bestselling author Marissa Meyer (Cinder) says “this is not your grandmother’s Nutcracker tale.”
The story of The Nutcracker receives a sinister steampunk twist in an engrossing retelling. Clara Stole is thrust into the magical, mechanized, war-torn dystopia of Cane with Prince Nicholas, a man cursed by faerie magic to spend his formative years as a metal statue; he's released just before Clara's own transformation into a powerful mage. Legrand's (The Year of Shadows) story is rich in fantastical realism and does not shy from themes of genocide, sexuality, and drug addiction, deftly woven together with crisp imagery and complex character development that are permeated with dualities. From the outset, Clara leads a conflicted double life, secretly training to fight and investigating her mother's murder with her Godfather Drosselmeyer, while attempting to carry on her duties as a proper lady of the house. The book's two empires, Cane and New York, are both threatened by power-hungry forces and on the brink of collapse. And at the story's core are the half-breed queen Anise and her foil Clara, magical creatures whose powers of fire and ice make for a striking contrast and complement. Ages 14 up.
When I picked up Winterspell, I expected a quality twisted fairy tale story; what I got was a hot mess of teen angst and overly-descriptive romantic scenes.
I'm all for descriptive writing, as many authors use great detail to further the plot of their books. However, Winterspell's gratuitous descriptions do nothing for the story and are just plain weird.
The overall plot was shoddy and the latter part of the story seemed thrown together and did not flow at all.
Basically, the book was pretty terrible. Definitely 13+ for the wonky descriptive scenes.