Author: Claire LeGrand
Number of Pages: 464 in Hardcover
Published: September 30th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Retellings, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.
New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.
Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.
Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.
Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.
I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time now. I’ve even featured it on a Waiting on Wednesday post back in July and I’m really excited that I finally have it. I’m already on Chapter Seven I believe and it’s intriguing to start with. Remember when I said that I forgot what the Nutcracker is all about? I still couldn’t remember. Ha! Ha! Loser. Loser. Yeah. So I’m practically plunging blind here. I’ve read reviews for reference though.
Here’s some of the good ones..
I loved it. It is beautiful. But ack. It is also a bit painful. So heartbreaking. And I cannot help but want a sequel. I want one so bad. I need more of Clara. More of Nicholas. More of the world of Cane. I need more of everything. So yess. I would really love it if Claire wrote a sequel to this book. ❤ Though it is a standalone. But I want more. Always. Even just a short story that takes place after the ending. Sigh. This book was just so truly beautiful. – Carina Olsen
So much goodness. This is a YA fantasy built around the bones of The Nutcracker ballet, but with CLOCKWORK. AND FAERIES. I like these things. Have you noticed? I do. And I know, there are a lot of books recently that combine those elements (mine, Goblin Secrets, The Falconer, Ironskin, a bunch more…) But because Claire is clever and a wonderful writer, even if you’ve read every single faerypunk book ever I guarantee this will not feel anything like them. It’s visual and dark and lavish and action-packed, and there’s a wicked faery queen named Anise who is the best. Read iiiiit. – Stefan Bachmann
WINTERSPELL is a spellbinding and beautifully written story. It’s a thrilling and epic adventure. It’s a story that will transport readers to a faraway land tainted by dark and twisted fairy magic, filled with hatred, suffering and fear. It’s a story brimming with secrets and betrayal. It’s a story about bravery and strength and sacrifice. It’s a story about love and forgiveness, about empathy and acceptance, about the devastating consequences of anger and revenge. It’s a world you won’t want to leave, with characters you won’t want to say goodbye to. It’s a story you won’t be able to put down. – Rachel Clarke
and here’s some of the one star reviews:
I admit, I couldn’t get more than a few pages in. I just could not connect with her writing style. To me, it felt too grandiose, too verbose for my taste. It wasn’t that I can’t/couldn’t understand, it was just too much. I understand there is worldbuilding, but I felt bogged down. Maybe it’s just me and I’m not in a mood for lots of worldbuilding right now. I do like the premise of loosely based on The Nutcracker, though. – Nicole
I had high hopes for Winterspell and they just weren’t met. To begin with I am not a fan of historical fiction, but reading the summary of Winterspell I figured I would try it. I really tried to get into this book, and I did at one point. The beginning was interesting but as it went the more and more I was getting confused. Clara was extremely hard to relate with. She lacked so many characteristics, determination was a big one. Also, she was weak in a sense. Her Godfather trained her with weapons to protect herself, and in all honesty she did an okay job with protecting herself, but when it came to her father being abducted she just watched them take him! She wasn’t a very good protagonist. The plot confused me. The prologue made me think that the story was going to be set in Cane. Not, New York in 1898. At first it made sense, then you involve Godfather, the statue, the Doctor, and Plum and you get one big mess that you can’t decipher. – Amber_Shep
This book is hilariously terrible. Sure, it’s based on The Nutcracker, and to be honest, I know absolutely nothing about it besides the fact that it has a Nutcracker in it (I’m brilliant) and I can prance around my living room around Christmastime twinkling my toes dancing to The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (again, brilliant). To be honest, after reading the book, I have absolutely no desire to actually find out what The Nutcracker is about. It is that bad. It doesn’t sell the original book to me at all. A good retelling should at least give me a rough idea of what the original book is about. I don’t have a fucking clue what The Nutcracker’s actual plot is. Something about a girl falling in love with a statue and going to a fantasy land to conquer the world (while *bleeping* the statue?). Ok, maybe not the *bleeping* part.. – Khanh
I’m in a dilemma here. Carina said it’s beautiful, but Khanh said it’s terrible. Ha! Ha! Those are two bloggers I’m a fan of, but wait.. Khanh is hitting points there and I’m afraid I’ll feel the same way ’cause we both have no clue about the Nutcracker. Hmm.. Still, it’s too early to tell. Don’t you think? I still need to consider the rest of the reviews I’ve read too. Well, anyway I’ll cross the bridge when I get there. Book review to follow, but for now..
Happy reading to me! 😀