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Claire Legrand

    RYAR Review: WINTERSPELL by Claire Legrand

    Previously published on ReadingYA.rocks


    ABOUT THE BOOK


    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

    AMAZON | B&N | GOODREADS

    This book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

    DESCRIPTION

    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.


    REVIEW


    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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    WINTERSPELL Blog Tour: ‘Five Favorite Quotes & Passages’ Guest Post + Giveaway

    winterspell

    I am so excited to be today’s stop on the WINTERSPELL Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours with an amazing guest post by the author in which she shares five favorite quotes and passages from the book along with why she chose them as favorites. I love all five of the author’s choices, especially five… and four… and three… and… well… okay I love them all. Just for different reasons.

    But I totally agree with the author about that last line in number four. It is such a perfect line. And three, ah that scene, that scene is so swoony and beautiful and magical. Anyway….

    I may not have the clearest memory of the Nutcracker fairy tale and the last time I saw the ballet was when I was a small girl, but it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know all the details of that story to enjoy this book. WINTERSPELL is incredible. All on its own. And it releases in just a few days.

    So, before I go and reveal way too much about this amazing story, its sweet and mysterious and creepy and maddening and fascinating and scary and lovely characters, I’ll stop rambling and turn this post over to Claire Legrand, so she can share with you those wonderful passages and quotes.

    And if you’d like to know more about the book and author their details follow right after.

    There is also an awesome giveaway, so be sure to scroll down to the Rafflecopter for a chance to win an awesome prize pack. Finally, the tour schedule follows at the end of this post if you just can’t wait to find out more about WINTERSPELL and its oh so talented author, Claire Legrand.

    Now, without any further ado, let me welcome Claire Legrand to the blog.

    Divider

    The Guest Post

    Five Favorite Quotes & Passages

    Hello, everyone! Claire here. I’m so excited to be at Fiktshun today as part of the WINTERSPELL blog tour!

    Today I’m going to share with you five of my favorite passages and quotes from WINTERSPELL. These aren’t my absolute favorite passages—those are riddled with spoilers—but they’re still passages dear to me for various reasons. With each excerpt, I’ve included brief commentary explaining why I chose that particular passage.

    I hope you enjoy this small taste of WINTERSPELL!

    ***

    ONE

    “Come, Godfather.” She made herself sound playful, even though she felt far from it. Indulge him, indulge him. “Hit me.”

    He laughed, eye dancing, and lunged at her.

    Clara met him halfway, throwing up her right arm to block his left jab. He grabbed her wrist and twisted, but he himself had taught Clara not to fight the attack but to move with it and turn it against itself. Become one with the shadows when you sneak, my Clara. Become one with the blow when you fight.

    So she gritted her teeth as he jerked her arm around, pulling her into a tight hold, and then she elbowed him hard in the staomch. Gasping, he staggered back. Clara pulled free and whirled on her heel, smacking him hard on his right ear. Disoriented, furious, he let fly a sloppy left hook.

    Clara dodged it with ease, grinning, enjoying this despite herself, for this—these moments flying about Godfather’s shop, the spiced air hissing past her bare arms, her skin stinging from Godfather’s strikes—was when she felt most unlike her usual self. She felt invincible, unencumbered by both fabric and anxiety. Bold. Brazen. Each blow she gave sent fire shooting up her arms; each blow she received, each stab of pain, stoked a strange pleasure within her. She was not nervous, fearful Clara here; she was shadow, fists and sweat and burning muscle.

    This scene between Clara and Godfather Drosselmeyer was one of the first I envisioned when sitting down to plan WINTERSPELL. Their relationship—both in the original Nutcracker fairy tale and in the ballet—has always fascinated me . . . and disturbed me. Despite Godfather’s unpredictable temper and infuriating quirks, he cares deeply for Clara. It is here, in his toy shop, that Clara is able to slough off the dangers, worries, and grief of her everyday life like an old skin, and become herself again.

    ***

    TWO

    From her hiding spot on the second-floor mezzanine overlooking the ballroom, partially concealed behind a red velvet curtain, Clara dreamed of murder.

    Her nose stung with the echo of Dr. Victor’s medicinal tang; he had hardly left her side all evening. If she had to endure one more moment with him . . . well, she would endure it, and do so without complaint. But she could dream about clawing his face to pieces; no one would ever know. She imagined the viscera of his eyeballs curdling beneath her nails. He would be afraid, the fear on his face reflecting what he must so often see on her own. And Godfather would stand beside her, nodding in approval, directin her how best to slice him to pieces.

    Proper ladies don’t think of such things.

    She moved to a nearby window seat, closed her eyes, and breathed the violence away—as well as the sense of peace that accompanied it. When she opened her eyes once more, the frenzy had left her, and she was herself again—small, uncertain, naked in her many-layered dress.

    From up here, she could see the steady flow of carriages and belled horses outside the mansion, as New York City high society arrived to strut and dance and gossip. The frost-lined streets made an eerie, black-and-white world, as though the cold had sucked out everything but snow and shadow.

    The Christmas party scene in the ballet is pretty iconic, and I had such fun recreating it within the world of WINTERSPELL. I especially like the juxtaposition of ballet Clara, who is giddy and wide-eyed at the sight of her family’s guests, the Christmas tree, the piles of presents—and WINTERSPELL Clara, who looks down upon the glitter of the party with murder in her heart. (And when you meet Dr. Victor, I think you’ll understand why her thoughts are so dark here.)

    ***

    THREE

    He breathed her name: “Clara.”

    She would burst if she didn’t break away from the dark eyes boring into hers, from the fingers caressing her skin—but she could not look away; she would not. “Yes.”

    He smiled crookedly, as if he were remembering how. “I know you.”

    The brokenness of his voice, the age of it, made Clara sudder. She leaned closer without thinking; her wrist brushed against his bare stomach.

    “You do?”

    Nicholas nodded, and beneath the wildness of his brow and the soft amusement in his eyes was something deeper, something hot and knowing. “I don’t remember everything, but I remember you. I’ve seen you so many times. I’ve heard you speak to me. I’ve felt you.”

    “That’s quite enough.” Godfather pulled Nicholas away. “Cover yourself.”

    Even after Nicholas stepped away from her, Clara could feel the ghost of his touch on her skin. She wished she could capture the feeling before it faded—the fullness inside her, the sense of careful celebration. Her mind flooded with memories of countless stolen moments, when she had tiptoed to the statue and pressed her lips to its arm, traced her fingers down the chiseled slopes of its belly. Was it truly him? And if so, had he felt her do those things? Had he been aware of her all this time?

    The look in his eyes, half in shadow as Godfather draped the coat over his body once more, seemed to answer Yes.

    When Clara releases Nicholas from the curse that had kept him imprisoned as a statue for eighteen years, their first flesh-and-blood meeting is pretty breathless. Nicholas has been trapped, immobile, as this towering metal statue in the corner of Drosselmeyer’s shop. From there he has watched Clara grow from child to girl to young woman; in some ways, he knows her better than she knows herself. Clara has grown up in that same shop, visiting her godfather, helping him with his clockwork creations, listening to his strange stories—and, when Drosselmeyer isn’t looking, indulging her fascination with the statue in the corner. It has been a strange seventeen-year friendship, neither having ever directly spoken to one another but both being hyper-aware of each other. Those first moments after Nicholas has become a living, breathing young man once again were therefore such fun to write.

    ***

    FOUR

    The detached realization came to her that she was about to die, and so was Nicholas, and so would her father and Felicity, and untold scores of New Yorkers in the grasp of Concordia, because she had not been there to save them—

    —but then it was as if her clutching hands had tugged on something invisible, and tugging on that something was a trigger to turn the world inside out.

    Winter invaded her blood.

    I basically chose this short passage for the last line—“Winter invaded her blood.” I just love it, plain and simple. It’s a short, cutting sentence that packs a lot of punch—and has a lot of significance a bit later in the book.

    ***

    FIVE

    “No. Don’t be ashamed. They’re just bodies, and they’re ours, and they’re powerful.”

    I can’t provide a lot of context for this quote because I don’t want to spoil anything—but this line comes during one of the most pivotal scenes in the book, and what was probably my favorite scene to write. It was one of those scenes I dangled in front of myself like a carrot as I worked—“The more you write today, the closer you’ll be to writing that scene!” 

    ***

    I hope you enjoyed reading these brief excerpts—and that you’re enjoying the blog tour! Thanks so much for stopping by, and huge thanks to Rachel for hosting today’s stop!

    – Claire


    About Winterspell

    Winterspell-2

    Add to Goodreads

    Title: WINTERSPELL (Winterspell #1)
    Author: Claire Legrand
    Release date: September 30, 2014
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 464
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    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.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | GOODREADS


    About Claire Legrand

    clairelegrand_authorphoto1-680x1024

    Claire Legrand is the author of books for children and teens, including The Cavendish Home for Boys and GirlsThe Year of Shadows, the upcoming Winterspell, and its prequel, Summerfall. She is also one of the four authors of The Cabinet of Curiosities.

    When not writing books, she can be found obsessing over DVD commentaries, going on long walks (or trying to go on long runs), and speaking with a poor English accent to random passersby. She thinks musicians and librarians are the loveliest of folks (having been each of those herself) and, while she loves living in central New Jersey, she dearly misses her big, brash, beautiful home state of Texas.

    Her work is represented by Diana Fox of Fox Literary, LLC.

    WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | TUMBLR | PINTEREST | GOODREADS


    The Giveaway

    This tour includes a seriously awesome giveaway…

    • 10 Prize Packs to 10 Winners – prize packs include a finished copy of WINTERSPELL, swag (bookmark, bookplate, character postcards), map of Cane, WINTERSPELL-themed jewelry

    ** Giveaway is US ONLY **

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    The Tour Schedule

    Week One

    Sept. 22nd – Alice Marvels – Review

    Sept. 23rd – The Midnight Garden – Guest Post

    Sept. 24th – Magical Urban Fantasy Reads – Interview

    Sept. 25th – Cuddlebuggery – Guest Post

    Sept. 26th – Fiktshun – Guest Post

    Week Two

    Sept. 29th – Novel Sounds – Guest Post

    Sept. 30th – Parajunkee – Interview

    Oct. 1st – Mundie Moms – Interview

    Oct. 2nd – Two Chicks on Books – Guest Post

    Oct. 3rd – Dark Faerie Tales – Spotlight

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