“Then he would tell her stories. Sometimes his stories–of Cane, Clara now realized–would be dark, terrifying, violent, and Clara would listen to them with morbid fascination. On her nightmare visits, though, his stories would be soft and full of beauty–docile white dragons, as blind as babies; starlight on high, cold hills; lovers whose devotion was strong enough to bring life to an entire new world.”
Winterspell by Claire Legrand
Star rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars
Summary: In a retelling of the Nutcracker, Clara the daughter of the mayor of New York has travel with a mysterious man named Nicholas, who emerges from a statue, to another world when her father is kidnapped. The two face a war-torn country where humans have been enslaved by faeries and ruled by a cruel half human-half faerie queen.
Review: I was so excited to get a retelling of the Nutcracker, that sounded totally awesome and unique because I’d never heard of anyone doing a Nutcracker retelling before. And this book did not disappoint.
At the beginning of the book I was a bit unsure if I was going to like this book. The daggers in Clara’s boots seemed a bit over the top at first. Once we got to chapter 8, things really picked up and really pulled me into the world.
This book is sexually charged and full of exciting action. I was instantly hooked into the story and the characters. The world building is great, I don’t normally dig steampunk but the merging of mechanics and faerie magic was absolutely amazing, I loved the whole thing.
I loved how complex all the characters are, in particular Anise. God I loved her so much and I really wished that she could have let go of her hate and worked with Clara to fix Cane. She and Clara had so much chemistry and their chapters together were by far my favorite. I really wanted her and Clara to get together but I understood why they didn’t, Anise was completely caught up in her bloodlust. I do enjoy Nicholas and Clara together too so at least I didn’t feel like I was getting something I completely didn’t want. And I enjoy how with her attraction to both Anise and Nicholas that Clara is bisexual.
I thought the ending was perfect, I actually teared up because of how well everything was tied up in the end. It was just so good. I loved this book, the story the characters– the VILLAINS. Oh man, I love when a female villain is a villain in her own right and both Mrs. Plum and Anise fit into that.
This was the perfect book to read in December, it was wintery but also dark. I just loved it and I think if you enjoy dark retellings you’ll like it too.