RYAR Review: WINTERSPELL by Claire Legrand

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WINTERSPELL by Claire Legrand
Series: Winterspell #1
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers on September 30, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Provided by: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars


This book was provided in exchange for an honest review.


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 not human. 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.


WINTERSPELL is a completely captivating and utterly enchanting story that combines the magic of a fairytale with elements from urban fantasy, high fantasy and steampunk woven in. The story will take readers from a corrupt, crime-ridden, poverty-stricken version of New York City in 1899 where the greedy, wealthy, power hungry who rule only care about keeping what they have and obtaining more to Cane, a war-torn land where its human citizens aren’t any better off.

Ruled by a half-fairy, half-human queen who is as temperamental as she is vindictive and vengeful, both the humans and the land are at the mercy of her whims. Forced into servitude, addiction or sent to places that are uninhabitable, forced into overcrowded cities policed by fairies who loathe them, monitored by the queen’s mechanized creations, forced to live in constant fear, life in Cane, with its continually shifting landscape, isn’t what it once was for them.

When Clara Stole’s father is taken on Christmas Eve she will have to make a choice – blindly follow his captor through a magical doorway to an unknown destination for the slim chance she can find him and bring him home or forget about him, leave New York and flee to safety but leave her sister behind with the ruthless Patricia Plum and the sadistic Dr. Victor.

Both choices would be dangerous. Both choices would require sacrifice. But leaping through the door would require a bravery she wasn’t sure she possessed. Not until she landed in the frozen, deadly land of Cane alongside someone she could hardly believe is real.

WINTERSPELL is a spellbinding and beautifully written story. It’s a thrilling and epic adventure. It’s a story that will transport readers to a faraway land tainted by dark and twisted fairy magic, filled with hatred, suffering and fear. It’s a story brimming with secrets and betrayal. It’s a story about bravery and strength and sacrifice. It’s a story about love and forgiveness, about empathy and acceptance, about the devastating consequences of anger and revenge.

It’s a world you won’t want to leave, with characters you won’t want to say goodbye to. It’s a story you won’t be able to put down.

And whether or not you’re familiar with the Nutcracker story, WINTERSPELL will be a story you can thoroughly enjoy. It’s magical. It’s delightful. It’s beautiful. It’s disturbing. It’s sweet and sad. It’s romantic. Its characters are charming, fascinating, lovable, diabolical, deceitful, fearsome, wicked, redeemable. It’s a journey worth taking, with an ending that is completely satisfying. And it’s an amazing start to a series that looks to be even more so.

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