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.
Clara Stole hasn't exactly had the best year since her mother was brutally murdered. She's had to stand-by helplessly and watch as her father self-imploded, and dug himself deeper into the hands of a mafia-like organization called Concordia. Even though she's been taught how to fight, how to protect herself, and how to be stealthy by the mysterious Godfather Drosselmeyer, she still acts like a coward caving at the first signs of trouble.
Thankfully for readers, and Clara, she does get better and not only finds her backbone, but her true calling that was hidden away by her mother. After her father is kidnapped, and taken away, Clara travels with the cursed Prince Nicholas to he alternative world known as Cane. This is the place where Clara finds her true self and calling. She's no longer a coward running away from perverted men who want to use her and then toss her away. Nope. This is a place where she learns that she can actually make a difference thanks to magic.
Winterspell is inspired by the Nutcracker, a tale that most of us grew up on. Set in 1899 New York City, as well as Cain, Legrand weaves an unusual world that is filled with fae, betrayal, mechanical creatures, and magical beings. The story is brutal in that there are plenty of creepy, and dangerous characters who stand in Clara's way of finding answers while saving her father and sister.
I have to admit that I found myself liking the villain Anise as times. She was absolutely interesting, and I felt bad for her, to a point. You can't help but wonder if she had been raised any other way, or allowed her due diligence as a royal born, how she would have turned out. The whole nature vs nurture argument definitely plays out with Anise. I actually found myself hoping for more of a friendship between Anise and Clara than we actually got.
I adored Clara's sister Felicity as well as Bo from the world of Cane. While Felicity is an innocent being protected by Clara, Bo is cunning, smart, snarky, and definitely a character that needs her own story.
Clara's relationship with Nicholas is not an example of insta-lust. Although we as readers don't know a whole lot about Nicholas at first, he surely knows everything about there is to know about Clara, and dreamed of the day that he could hold her. There are lots of twists and turns in their relationship, and that includes a betrayal that drives Clara into the villains hands.
No worries folks. There is NOT a love triangle in this story. If you are claiming that Dr. Pervert was a love interest, then you are absolutely missing the point. Clara thought he was absolutely disgusting, dangerous, and vile. He would brutalize her younger sister to get Clara to surrender to his sickness.
Kind of confused as to what is supposed to happen next since the ending really does tie up most loose ends. Are we really finished with Clara's story, or will it continue into the next installment? If Clara's story is finished, who will be next, Felicity? Bo? Curious as a cat to see what Legrand does next.
Author - Claire Legrand
Title - Winterspell (Winterspell # 1)
Published by S&S Books for Young Readers
Released: September 30, 2014
Format: E-Book 464 pages