Author: Claire Legrand
Series: Winterspell #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retelling
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers
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.
First Sentence: Our stories say that when the human world was first made, not all of it fit.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
As soon as I heard about Winterspell and saw its gorgeous cover, I knew I needed it in my life. Add the fact that Winterspell is also a retelling of the Nutcracker and I definitely need the book in my life NOWWWWWWWWW. I sent a desperate I-need-this-book-in-my-life-desperately email to Simon & Schuster, never thinking I’ll actually get an ARC, so imagine my surprise when Winterspell came into the mail. That’s when I started flailing, screaming, stroking, hugging, and typing in all Caps in my excitement. Just ask anyone.
Right from the very start, I really enjoyed reading Winterspell. I felt for Clara and her situation – I just wanted to get rid of all the people out to get her and her family, for them to stop hurting her. I desperately hoped Clara would get her revenge in the end. You could say I automatically and quickly connected with Clara right from the very start.
“Nice smile, Miss Stole, there we are,” said Mr. Wiley. “Nice and bright.”
Yes, a smile.
She had to keep smiling, despite the many reasons not to. Concordia grew suspicious otherwise. (ARC 7)
I’ve seen many complaints from the people who’ve already read Winterspell about the main character, Clara, being sexually attracted to a statue, but let me reassure you guys, there’s a very good reason for why it’s happening that I can’t explain because yes, spoilers. I wasn’t bothered by Clara being sexually attracted to a statue because I knew that there would be a good reason on why Clara acts that way and later on, I found out that my instincts was right.
Which leads me to the next topic, Winterspell is so sexual. No, I’m not saying that there are explicit sex scenes in Winterspell, or any sex scenes for the matter. I’m just saying that a big theme in Winterspell is sexuality – there are lots of scenes where Clara is wondering what she’s feeling when she’s around the statue, scenes where Clara is wondering what she’s feeling when she’s around Nicholas, kissing scenes between Clara and Nicholas, and kissing scenes between a girl and another girl (I’m trying to avoid spoilers here, so no, I won’t name who), and there were other parts of the book that just gave out this strong sexual vibe.
One downfall of Winterspell is that it’s a slow book. Winterspell is full of details that enhance your knowledge of Cane and all its characters, but at the same time, that also slows down the book drastically. Winterspell would be a better-paced book if there were more action scenes added into the mix with some details taken out of it to even out the pacing of the book.
Winterspell‘s ultimate downfall for me is a spoiler and since I couldn’t think of a way to describe it without spoiling the book for you guys, I’ll put it all in a spoiler tag below. If you want to see it, just highlight it.
[HUGE] SPOILER: I was liking Nicholas – how he supported Clara and helped her while she was in Cain – but when he betrayed her, there was no going back for me. I just wanted him gone after what he did. Add the fact that Clara easily forgave him for what he’s done, with no actual way of knowing if he will go back on his word, and to trust him again so easily just drives me crazy. GIRL, what happens if he betrays you again?! You do know that there’s no going back if it turns out that he’s betraying you again, right? Ugh, just why are you so gullible Clara?
Overall, I enjoyed reading Winterspell, but it does have its downfalls that I just couldn’t overlook. Without those two main problems, Winterspell would definitely be a solid four star read for sure. I would still recommend Winterspell because with its gorgeous cover, how could you not? Now excuse me while I stroke the book some more…