Sep 24, 2014Simon and Schuster's Books for Young Readers
Author: Claire Legrand
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
Winterspell is a great book for people to who love urban fantasy. It has a different take on it because it is set in the 1890’s, and it gives the book a very Victorian feel. This book has a very dark tone to it, which was quite refreshing. There were no hero’s or good guys in this story.
Clara was an interesting character, and definitely the only character guided by any kind of moral compass which she inherited from her mother. Clara was very naïve, but it was because she truly wanted to believe the best of people. I loved her interactions with Godfather. He was definitely a murky character who didn’t always have the best moral compass, but he truly loved Clara and that redeemed him.
Nicholas was a different story, and I understand that he had spent years stuck in metal, but his actions towards Clara definitely soured him in my opinion. Even afterwards when he was remorseful, I was glad, but it didn’t change my already bad opinion of him. Nicholas had a lot of redeeming to do, and I don’t feel that he even came close to it. He wasn’t a bad person, but he definitely only had killing on his mind.
The faeries and humans in this story were well matched. In most stories one is the aggressor and perpetrator of wrong doing. Not in Winterspell they both had done horrible things to one another over the centuries. It was probably one of those situations where no one really remembers when things went wrong, and so they’ve been fighting for thousands of years just because it’s what they’ve always done.
This book was very very dark, in both tone and in description. Cane was pictured as a bleak, snowy, terrible place. Even the bits of beauty that were described were shadowed by humans on chains, or faeries who were being deformed by Anise’s magic. Even the scenes that were set in New York were dark and dreary. The whole book was very bleak in description, however it a nice change from everything being stunningly beautiful.
The book was a little hard to get into at first because of the stark writing style, and a few editing errors in my copy from Edelweiss. However, after the first 50-75 pages I didn’t notice it, and I was fully sucked in. I really enjoyed this book, and I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.
4/5 – An Enjoyable Read, Well Written
**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**
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