Winterspell by Claire Legrand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Summary from GoodReads
The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.
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
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.
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I had great expectations for this book. Since December 2014 when I first looked upon the book I was ready to grab it and lose myself in it. It is after all, a retelling of "Nutcracker".
When I began reading the book, I got to know Clara a young girl or eighteen, who lived in a mafia-running New York. Since the society status was similar to that of 19th century. I put apart my need to smack Clara for letting the people around her abuse her both physically and emotionaly. On the other hand, she got to train with Godfather who also happened to harbor feelings for her, which were bordering fatherly love and lust.
At the same time Clara felt attracted to the statue which was also something strange even if later was revealed that the statue was an actual boy.
The rest of the book was an emotional turmoil, full of a weak minded Clara who liked to treat herself as weak, to the point of not having any confidence for herself, as also feeling sympathetic to the villain of the book (and that was really awkard).
Nicholas on the other hand wasn't as princely as he looked. Despite his courage and need to save his kingdom he was also too easily consumed by hatred which also caused a major fall to the plot at some point.
BUT, the most amazing part of the book was the world-building. The book was saved because of the descriptions, the quick escalating of the plot towards the end and of course the ending of the book. Also the author has offred a continuation to the epilogue of the book which can be found on her site.
Overall, I would probably rate the book on 3.5/5 stars. Good, but I believe it needed stronger characters.
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