By Claire Legrand
Summary: 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.
Source: I received a paperback in a Yureka Book Box
Winterspell was a story of a crime infested city, a curious girl, a statue, and a bit of magic. The book was inspired by The Nutcracker with plenty of parallels, but felt like a totally unique story.
Clara’s father was in deep with the various criminal bosses of New York, but after the brutal murder of Clara’s mother, he lost his way and couldn’t seem to keep everyone happy. His position as mayor was certainly crumbling, which meant a quite unfortunate fate for Clara and her younger sister. Fortunately, Clara had a secret with her Godfather, a life of training and stealth that allowed to her at least prepare for some of the unseemly events that others had been plotting to take down Clara’s father. And then, all hell broke loose from another plane. Godfather burst in with mad ravings and Clara stood in front of what used to be a statue and appeared to be a human. Which lead her to a place called Cane, where an even bigger battle of power would have to take place.
I loved the plot and Clara as a main character. She was smart, determined, and relatable. All she really wanted was to save her father, in both worlds. She didn’t realize she was something special and she certainly never realized her weird magnetism with the statue would eventually turn into a weird sort of attraction to a guy who was real.
I thought the book was a bit long, but I kind of enjoyed the length. I enjoyed seeing Clara balance the conflict in her New York life. It wasn’t really the fast paced OMG I Just Found Out I’m Special and I’m In Fairy World Now kind of book that gives a main character a normal life as just a backdrop. Clara had a real life in New York and she wasn’t just some extra in a play who wouldn’t be missed which made her feel a little more real. I admired her and the way she handled her strength.
I suppose the whole statue thing can be considered odd, but I enjoyed the relationship between Clara and Nicholas, from statue to prince. It was intriguing and different.
My only main complaint is that I’ve always been under the impression that iron was lethal to any fairy beings and it’s a product of the fairy ruling over Cane, as she created a bunch of mechanical beings and structures that didn’t seem to be lethal to anyone and so I think the fairies should have been something else in order to make sense in my brain. Also, it’s weird that a person half human and half mate or half fairy would be more powerful than undiluted fairy or made blood, so that was a little weird, too. Those things made sense in the story, but are way different from similar mythology which was the only reason it was a bit off putting for me.
I enjoyed Winterspell. I love Legrand’s writing and her imagination is quite vivid. I’m definitely happy I received the book in my Yureka Box and I recommend it to anyone looking for a winter fantasy with a little bit of magic and adventure. It was a little bit Nutcracker, Gotham City, and fantasy rolled together.