I…I have no idea how to review Winterspell.
I hated it. But I liked it. Simultaneously. Trust me, that’s exhausting. I need a nap after all my exhausting and conflicting emotions about this book.
It’s a Nutcracker retelling.
NUTCRACKER! I’m a sucker for retellings. There are about 2 million Cinderella retellings right now, so it’s a breath of (icy) fresh air to read something so different and unique. This book absolutely bursts at the seams with unique.
The feminism is strong with this one.
Finally. I usually sit here and whinge at how sexist books still are. (Usually every second YA book includes a girl being saved by her boyfriend.) FINALLY HERE IS A BOOK THAT PUNCHES THAT. Clara does not need a man to save her. The book starts off with her rather weak and whimpery (and dull), but she turns into a very strong young woman.
There’s a warped love-triangle between Clara, Nicholas, and (villain) Anise.
Clara’s relationship with Anise is kind of Stockholm Syndrome though, so I’m not sure if I can say it’s romantic. But Anise loved Clara (Anise is a faerie though…so does she even love? Or was it just wanting Clara as a pet?) To be honest, I think Clara/Anise had more chemistry than Clara/Nicholas. Nicholas was flat and kind of boring and half made of metal (that was cool though) and betrayed Clara and used her…but apparently loved her. He swore he’d never ever make her do anything she didn’t want to do. Then he turned around and did manipulate her. Everyone manipulated Clara! I purely did not ship her with anyone.
It’s really sensual and really dark.
It kind of took me by surprise actually. That cover looks magically dark, yes, but this dark?! Seriously, there is a lot of nakedness. I read YA because I don’t like nakedness.
There’s a lot of violence and darkness and conspiracies. There’s basically a steampunk version of mafia (which was interesting) and, oh wait, DID I MENTION ALL THE PSYCHOPATHS?
Nicholas is totally a psychopath. He’s been killing since he was 6 years old and…he kind of enjoys it. (Ungh.)
Also: FIGHT THE FAIRIES!
I had noooo idea there would be faeries. It’s basically a magical faerie war. There’s some dragons. And magical sugar. And steamy passion. And the faeries like to be naked and be proud of their bodies, which (I suppose) is a good message. (But ungh.) The book felt New Adult almost 80% of the time.
But the world. It was brilliant.
Seriously, this is one of the most unique and gorgeous worlds ever. It’s inside a secret portal so everything is up for fantastical imagination. It reuses the Nutcracker aspects perfectly. (Yes, I have seen the Barbie Nutcracker movie, but also I’ve read the original story. So there.) Everything is vivid and rather steampunkish. I’m in awe.
It was boring. I was bored. I spent the entire book wishing it was finished. The beginning dragged on fooooorever. And when the action finally heated up (after the first 100-pages) I was just snoozing. I wanted it to end. Plus all the sensual aspects and the perverted guy who wanted to rape/marry Clara and Nicholas being a little psycho and Anise freaking me out…it just wasn’t a book for me.
Doesn’t mean it won’t be for you of course!
I give it a thousand points for being unique and beautiful and actually tackling diversity and feminism and winning. I’m glad I read it. (If you adore the Nutcracker — read it because it’s a crazy ride of icicle retellings dipped in psycho.)
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 nothuman. 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.
Cait is trying to send Christmas cards which is proving to be a hopeless and fatal task. In a well-ordered universe, she would zentangle them herself. But until she steals time (har, har), Christmas cards ain’t happening. Currently she’s listening to an audio of THE HUNT, which is the vampiric Hunger Games. Okay then.