Book Review: Winterspell, Claire Legrand (2014)

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

A Dark & Dangerous Reimagining of The Nutcracker

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Goodreads’s First Reads program. Please note that there are clearly marked spoilers near the end of this review. Also, trigger warning for rape.)

Our stories say that when the human world was first made, not all of it fit.

Pieces fell off the whole, like too much dough being stuffed into a small pan, and those bits dropped into cracks and were forgotten. Our stories, the oldest ones, the ones most people no longer remember, say that my country, Cane, is one of those forgotten places, hidden away in some cosmic pocket of existence, for the most part separated from the human world, but not entirely. Tenuous links connect the two worlds – like certain traveling songs, and hidden doorways, and magic, if you’re able to use it.

New York City, 1899.

Though more privileged than most, seventeen-year-old Clara Stole’s family suffers under the rule of Concordia, a powerful gang of thugs, politicians, and businessmen (well, mostly men) whose corruption and thirst for power threatens to suck the city dry. Her mother Hope fell victim to the violence that plagues the streets, poor and wealthy alike; nearly a year ago, her bloated, mutilated remains were found by the river, her body marred by strange symbols. In his grief, father John hit the bottle hard, leaving Clara to run the household and care for her younger sister Felicity.

(More below the fold…)