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Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Hey Guys!

I hope your week's off to a great start :)

It's Monday, and here's to hoping I'll finally have my blog back to it's regular updating schedule this week.

I've finished quite a few books in the last few weeks that I'm wanting to review on my blog, and so today I want to go ahead and post one of those reviews, and as you can tell by this post's title, that's going to be Winterspell by Claire Legrand.

Winterspell by Claire Legrand:

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publication Date: September 30th, 2014

Source: Library

My Review:

The Nutcracker was always one of those stories while I was growing up that deeply fascinated me. I loved it's Christmassy setting, the magic element of the Nutcracker prince coming to life, and the beautiful music and choreographed dances that filled my young eyes with wonder beyond belief. I only actually saw the ballet in person this last year, but I loved watching it on TV, and the numerous VHS adaptations of it while I was growing up.

So fast forward a good twenty years later when I found out that Claire Legrand had written a Nutcracker inspired YA novel, and I was sold right then and there. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book, and this past month I finally got the chance to order it from the library, and immerse myself in the pages of one of my favorite worlds growing up.

Now going into this novel, I knew it was categorized as a dark YA fantasy, and even though I hadn't been a huge fan of darker fantasies in the past, like Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, I was still determined to give Winterspell a fair chance.

Now to say this book was not what I was expecting would be a gross understatement. While Clara, The Nutcracker Prince, and Drosselmyer all are main characters, and they do travel to a "magical" land, there honestly aren't many similarities with the original story beyond these. Instead, we're given a dark fantasy telling of a girl who's growing up in a corrupt New York City during the 1800's, and seeks solace, even moreso after her mother's gruesome murder, at her Godfather's "toy" shop. Only behind the confined walls of his shop, is she truly able to be who she wants to be, as Drosselmyer trains her in combat and defense, and alters all her fancy dresses with hiding places for numerous weapons.

Clara thinks this training is all in good fun, until Christmas Eve when autobots attack Drosselmeyer's shop, the Nutcracker Prince comes to life, her father is kidnapped and taken across the border into a magical land, and  it's up to Clara and Nicholas to save him before the corrupt political leaders of her hometown in New York see revenge on her younger sister. From here things only get stranger as they realize this land has been taken over by a twisted half breed fairy queen who's brought the iron age everywhere they look, and nowhere is truly safe for them to hide from her ever present eyes.

Now to say Winterspell is a dark fantasy is a drastic understatement. This book contains lots of gruesome components including fairies being sliced open alive, gruesome murders, massive drug addictions to a substance known as "sugar", and talk of humans being "bonded" to the royal family, and in turn having no conscience means of refusing them.

However, what really makes this novel stand out as dark is the massive amounts of sexual undertones present throughout the entire novel. Back in New York, Clara attempts to escape the prying eyes of a leering elderly "doctor" who makes his living experimenting on young girls. Growing up, Clara exhibits a strange fascination with the "statue" at Drosselymeyer's workshop, and the reader is given many examples of her desires to touch it, and feel something in return. As well, after crossing over into magical lands, Clara and Nicholas are forced to hide out in a fairy "pleasure house", and Clara soon finds herself the object of affection for the twisted fairy queen.

I'm actually quite surprised that this book was categorized as a YA novel in the first place, since it seems to me that it would have had a much better fitting under the NA category.

Now with all these things taken into consideration, I can honestly say this book just wasn't for me. I found it too dark, the sexual undertones to be downright creepy, Clara's character was twisted in ways I never could have begun to imagine, the so few similarities with the actual Nutcracker story was massively disappointing, and to be honest, I found the plot to be lacking, and contained massive holes that never really seemed to be filled.

So in closing, while I love the idea for this book, I found the actual execution of it lacking, and I only ended up rating this book 2 stars out of 5. It was definitely not my cup of tea, and I don't see myself recommending this to anyone anytime soon.

I was definitely fascinated by the idea of it, but it just wasn't what I was expecting, and even going into it with an open mind, it just didn't do anything for me unfortunately.

If any of you guys have read this book, I'd love to hear your opinions on it.

Thanks so much for reading guys, and I'll see you all in my next bookish post!

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. The photo does not belong to me, and all rights to the respective owners. 


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