As a former ballerina, I have nightmares about The Nutcracker. It’s a beast. A beast that demands the sacrifice of your feet. Seriously. Your feet hurt for hours after dancing, and the only cure is an ice bath and gel socks.
Ah, gel socks, my old friends.
So turning The Nutcracker into a dark fantasy? Yeah, I totally get that.
And, well, tis the season to read Winterspell:
After her mother is brutally murdered, seventeen-year-old Clara Stole is determined to find out what happened to her. Her father, a powerful man with little integrity, is a notorious New York City gang lord in the syndicate-turned-empire called Concordia. And he isn’t much help.
But there is something even darker than Concordia’s corruption brewing under the surface of the city, something full of vengeance and magic, like the stories Clara’s godfather used to tell her when she was a little girl. Then her father is abducted and her little sister’s life is threatened, and Clara accidentally frees Nicholas from a statue that has been his prison for years. Nicholas is the rightful prince of Cane, a wintry kingdom that exists beyond the city Clara has known her whole life.
When Nicholas and Clara journey together to Cane to retrieve her father, Clara encounters Anise, the queen of the faeries, who has ousted the royal family in favor of her own totalitarian, anti-human regime. Clara finds that this new world is not as foreign as she feared, but time is running out for her family, and there is only so much magic can do…
Murder! Gangs of New York! Nutcracker Suite! All wins in my book.
What Intrigued Me: Like I mentioned before, The Nutcracker is a yearly beast that must be tamed. For anyone who has never had to dance in point shoes, they’re legitimately the worst. They have broken almost all of my toes (my feet now look like E.T.). So a nightmarish version of The Nutcracker feels almost tailor made for me.
What Hooked Me: Anise, the Sugar Plum Fairy? Yeah, she’s a drug dealer. She deals Sugar, which is Cane’s version of heroin. Which is just so messed up, it’s hysterical.
What Made Me Fall in Love: Drosselmeyer. Always Godfather Drosselmeyer. That crazy, be-caped, eye-patched, not-actually-related-to-anyone, always-fashionably-late party crasher is the best part of The Nutcracker. And the best part of Winterspell.
Winterspell is available from Amazon or your local Herr Drosselmeyer (or, you know, a legitimate bookseller and not a weird stranger). Go pick up a copy before Christmas!