Monday, February 23, 2015


My rating: ★★★★★

Author: Claire Legrand

Series: Stand-alone (plus "Summerfall" prequel novella & "Homecoming" epilogue)

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Page Count: 454 (Hardcover)

Release Date: September 31, 2014

Places to order:
Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository
Books of Wonder


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.

My review:

Okay, so I am a HUGE sucker for retellings, especially the not-so-typical retellings like this one of "The Nutcracker" ballet! I read this book the day it came out & WOW... every time I hear someone say "nutcracker" nowadays, my mind immediately flashes an image of this BEAUTIFUL cover!

Things I LOVED about this book:
  • Originality 
  • COVER (+ a map of Cane in the inside!)
  • Strong female protagonist
  • Dark themes (I say this because when people think of "The Nutcracker," they think of Sugar Plum Fairies; however, Legrand turns this story inside-out and upside-down, which makes this story even more unique and intriguing to the readers!)
  • NICHOLAS *swoons*
  • The world of Cane 
  • Queen Anise = new favorite female villain
  • THE ENDING *breathes into paper bag*
Legrand was able to totally twist this book into it's own original story, and I admire that in an author, especially one who decides to write a retelling of a famous ballet that has been known since 1892!  

In this book, Legrand used intense themes such as war, prostitution, drugs, homosexuality and other controversial topics and managed to weave them into this beautiful, dark fantasy world. But because of these topics, many people bash on these books, like "Winterspell," and shame them for taking teens/young adults innocence by exposing the younger readers to such violence.

In my personal opinion, I think it's unreasonable for one to have that kind of a mindset, because as teens or young adults (I also speak for myself since I started reading YA books at the age of twelve), the world we live in is not pure or untainted by darkness; young readers shouldn't be ignorant of controversial topics such as the ones in "Winterspell" because these topics apply to the world that we live in and it's something that shouldn't be ignored or unaware of. (Sorry if I'm ranting, but I saw a couple reviews from other people about this book that got me a little mad...) **But leave a comment down below, if you like, if you feel the same or the total opposite as I do, because I will respect your opinion since I am just stating my own!**

MOVING ON, the characters in this book were fan-flipping-tastic! We get multiple, dynamic characters that each have their own unique backstory and come with their own little box of secrets, which gets you to keep turning the pages! Drosselmeyer, Nicholas and Queen Anise are (in my opinion) the dynamic, well-developed characters that makes this story even more intriguing and gets the reader to question these chatacters' motives and actions.

If you do read this book sometime in the near future, REMEMBER, there is an epilogue! So make sure not to have a panic attack once you get to the end of "Winterspell," because THERE IS MORE! :)

(P.S. For those of you who aren't aware of this yet, I also have a BookTube channel where I film book reviews, book hauls, recommendations and all the other bookish things :) And I had filmed my review on "Winterspell" awhile ago, so I you want to take a look, click here!)

~Whit Lo

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