Winterspell by Claire Legrand
Simon Schuster books for Young Readers, 2014
Owned in personal collection
In 2014 a Librarian friend, Kim, and I attended the Boston Teen Author Festival. It was a wonderful event that I’ve been dying to go back to and haven’t successfully managed since then... anyway, in 2014 I got to hear Claire Legrand speak about her twist on the “Nutcracker” story and I decided I was desperate to read it! I love fairy tale retellings. Generally, the darker and twistier the better. I purchased the gorgeous hardcover on he spot, then promptly buried it on my bookshelves when I got home and apparently neglected it for almost four years!
When I decided to challenge myself to read MY OWN books this was one of the first ones that sprang to mind. Plus last week it was about 10 degrees out every day (if we were lucky!) and it just felt like a good time to read this snowy, Christmas-y twisted tale.
This is a book that will be continuing to live in my personal collection. It's beautifully written, both conceptually and practically (her word choices and the way the story flowed were stellar). Legrand has created an intruiging new mythos where fairies utilize technology in all the worst ways. Though Clara comes from our world in 1899, she ends up in the alternate world of Cane... a land where mechanical spies haunt the population and their Queen keeps them loyal through the introduction of a horrifically addictive drug to ALL of society. I was fascinated through the entirety of the story and found myself unable to put this book down as Clara went from a downtrodden society debutante trying to survive in a world where she had no power, into a girl who realized that she could defy everyone and claim her own destiny.
This book is a standalone and though oftentimes I enjoy trilogies and series because I want more character development than standalone books generally provide, this book stands alone as strongly as Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races. There was no need for a sequel, though I'd be happy to visit this world again in short story form...
Highly recommended to those that like twisted fairy tales.