Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review: "Winterspell" by Claire Legrand

WinterspellWinterspell 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.

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.

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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.

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 and at

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