Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Winterspell (Winterspell, #1)” as Want to Read:
Winterspell (Winterspell, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Winterspell #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  4,689 ratings  ·  739 reviews
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,
Hardcover, 454 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Winterspell, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Nicole I felt that the romance played a big part in this
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Chloe It does end on that quote

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,689 ratings  ·  739 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Winterspell (Winterspell, #1)
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
She thought of the statue, tall and impassive in the shadowed corner—its full lips and narrow waist, its arms in their serrated armor. As she pictured this, the flush on her skin shifted from embarrassment to pleasure, despite the danger luxuriating in the next room.

Where I come from, we call that "statue" a sex doll.

DNF at around 50%. I skimmed the rest. It didn't get any better, to the contrary, around the 50% mark was where it lost its so-bad-it's-good factor and just turned into plain ol
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I have to give 5 stars to this beautiful cover!!

I quite enjoyed the storyline and I loved Clara and Nicholas.

I'm leaving my rating at 3 stars for now because I loved some things and other times I felt bogged down. This is another one I'm going to re/read later because it might just be my mood and not the book. I think it's one that I would actually love more.

I'm having trouble with forcing myself to read any books right now so that's why I think I need to come back again. I love re/reads so i
Nov 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, retellings, fae
3.5 stars

“Definitely not your grandmother's Nutcracker tale.”

Well, that is an understatement. I never thought that this classic fairytale that used to entertain me when I was a kid OK you got me I still watch Barbie in the Nutcracker could be so... disturbing.

“A kiss. A wicked, forbidden kiss. A kiss to end a kingdom.”

The result of this traitorous affair was the birth of a powerful half-breed who sought revenge against those who wronged her. A revenge that resulted in mas
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
3.75 stars!

This book took a while to get going and had some weird themes around nudity and sexuality that I could have done without, but overall I ended up enjoying this.

Could have been gayer though 💁
Steysha Kravits
Dec 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Me after finishing this book:

My momma always told me: Never judge a book by its cover. But I always do. So, can you imagine my disappointed when I found such a wonderful cover for such a lame story? I mean, it`s a retelling of a Nutcracker, I never thought it could be twisted into a boring tale. Thanks to Clara, now i know it`s possible.

So, Clara lives in New York (19th century) with her shitty father, who drinks a lot after death of his wife, and a sister, who is all sunshine and butterflies. H
It's finally on Edelweiss!

Arc provided by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers through Edelweiss

1.5 stars

TW's: Victim blaming

Some stories you casually find. Others, you anxiously wait for their release date.

Winterspell was the latter case. Since the moment I read its synopsis and _YES, I admit it! _ saw its cover, I've been eagerly anticipating its release, or as it is this case, its released arc.

This is not the first book I've read by this author. The Cavendish Home For Boys and Girls
Oh you gorgeous cover... YOU SIT ON A THRONE OF LIES!!!!!

I should have known this was coming, I honestly should have. Often, when I read a book with a gorgeous cover, it turns out to be a massive disappointment. And unfortunately, this book proved me right.

Everything was going swimmingly until I got to page 16...

"The hard lines of the statue's thighs, belly, chest, scraped against her skin, snagging at the cotton of her chemise, and she found herself moving slowly so as to prolong the contac
Feb 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
**Thank you Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for providing this in exchange for an honest review**

1.5 Stars

I really wanted to like this story. This is the first fairy tale retelling of The Nutcracker I've read. While I've never been a huge fan of the story itself, its linked to happy childhood memories. For that reason, I always enjoy it on some level. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about this version of it. I had many issues with this book. The pace of the story goes back and forth between f
Stefan Bachmann
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So much goodness. This is a YA fantasy built around the bones of The Nutcracker ballet, but with CLOCKWORK. AND FAERIES.

I like these things. Have you noticed? I do. And I know, there are a lot of books recently that combine those elements (mine, Goblin Secrets, The Falconer, Ironskin, a bunch more...) But because Claire is clever and a wonderful writer, even if you've read every single faerypunk book ever I guarantee this will not feel anything like them. It's visual and dark and lavish and acti
Steph Sinclair
I feel really bad that I only read a quarter of Winterspell before giving up. I was really excited for it, but had a hard time with the beginning. I kept putting it down over and over to the point where I just had to stop.

Things that bothered me:

– The main character, Clara, is sexually harassed by an older guy frequently in addition to others that are alluded to. That was hard for me to read, though, I’m not saying it’s a deal breaker for a book to show this. I don’t know if this was relevant to
Jaime (Two Chicks on Books)
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Can I give this 10 stars?!?!?!?!? I just finished!!! And OMG I LOVED IT!! My heart is so happy! And it was dark and creepy and sexy and WOW!
Isa Lavinia

arc provided by Simon & Schuster through Edelweiss

DNF @ 50%


I have to admit that, while I liked The Nutcracker when I was a little girl, since I grew up I find it absolutely terrifying. Toys and food coming to life in the middle of the night?!
When you're a kid that's all fun and Christmas magic, but once you grow up... I mean, they come to life at night! I'd be setting the house on fire and moving to another continent, to be honest.

Still, it's written by the great Claire Le
Update: Check out the blog for a chance to win an awesome swag pack!


Review to come!
Nasty Lady MJ
Apr 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No One!
To see the entire motion with gifs click here


This Motion arises from a a hellish reading experience from the accused. The blogger (MJ) alleges that the Reading Gods should grant her a motion to forget. Hence, said blogger is very stupidly filing a motion to forget pro se, even though she’s actively trying to forget this book. The book, also known as Winterspell, has committed acts of WTF-ckery causing the reader to have a valid reason for a Motion to Forget to be granted.

Statement o
Kristin Hackett (Merrily Kristin)
Originally posted on Super Space Chick:

Winterspell by Claire Legrand is a YA fantasy stand alone novel that is a retelling of the classic Christmas tale, The Nutcracker. The description alone and the whimsical wintery cover had me so excited to spend some of my December in the world of Cane but I can honestly say I have never been so disappointed in something that initially seemed so promising. I had numerous issues with the book which I’ll outline below but if you would also like to see a video
Ash S. H.
Jun 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
SERIOUSLY? Seriously.

This is what reeled me in:

1. Stunning cover.

2. Nineteenth century New York.

3. Retelling of the Nutcracker.

I have to admit, I was intrigued. The NUTCRACKER, people, The Nutcracker. As in, something I'd learned of in school, had been taught of as a child. As in, something I was completely ready to experience in twisted, beautiful YA novel form.

Damn cover-maker for doing his or her job. Damn setting for drawing me in (even though the execution failed miserably). Damn reputation
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014-releases
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Winterspell by Claire Legrand
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Rating: 2 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 i
Dark Faerie Tales
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Morbid story brimming with magic, betrayal, and romance. Legrand puts a very unique, dark, and sexy spin to the classic tale of The Nutcracker.

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

The Review:

Clara Stole has never felt like she fit into her life. She is the daughter of the wealthy mayor and was raised to be a proper young lady. But deep down Clara has always had a wild spirit and she has sp
Sara Raasch
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I just. This book.

Brace yourselves, my friends.

(view spoiler)
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm a little on the fence with this one. On one hand I did really enjoy it, the world was fantastic and the story was interesting. The only thing I didn't really enjoy were the characters. The main character was a tad annoying, the prince I didn't like he was a jerk and I never felt any connection to them as a couple. The only characters I actually liked were the Godfather, and Anise. I actually kind of wish Clara and Anise were together, because it honestly felt like they had way better chemist ...more
Athena of Velaris
“You cannot shy away from yourself. Look the world in the eye, and it can do nothing to hurt you.”

This was better the second time around. I was able to appreciate the subtleties of the plot, and the character development that occurred. This book was fully unique, unlike anything else in the genre. It had romance, betrayal, magic, history, multiple worlds, developed characters, politics, and fight scenes. The Nutcracker element was not overdone, though it was easy to see references to the source
Stephanie (Bookfever)
Winterspell was fantastic! I can't even begin to explain this amazing story. I knew this was going to be a great read but I hadn't imagined it being as good as it was. I loved the story, the characters, the writing and the echoes of The Nutcracker story. Oh and let's not forget the unbelievably excellent world building. Just perfection!

Let's talk about Clara. I really liked her. At first I thought her a bit weak when she let herself be pushed around by Concordia, especially Patricia Plum and Dr.
Jessica Lewenda
I am so disappointed by this book. The first 100 or so pages made me so sure that I'd give this a high rating, and when Clara begins to have a romantic, almost sexual relationship with Anise, the supposed evil queen, I decided that it would be a 5 star book, simply because I thought it would deviate from the norm.
I don't know why I'm surprised. I should have known that an author and publisher--and everyone else who worked on this book--wouldn't seriously stick to something as important and as gr
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars
Who could resist a story rich in detail as well as plot? A story truly reminiscent of the classic tale of The Nutcracker but with a slightly more sinister tale to tell?

With villains you love to hate and the good guys you will love even more so With just the right touch of magic and fantasy and romance all blended together to create something truly fun and imaginative?

Not I.There is no way I could resist this tale and not like it.

This was a great read and everything I described above. Th
I was in love with this book as soon as I saw that gorgeous cover and read the synopsis. A dark Nutcracker retelling? Count. Me. In. Sadly, I was horribly disappointed.

I didn't care for Clara and that made me struggle to continue reading. There were huge sections of the book that just took forever to get through. I couldn't stay interested and put it down several times.

I did enjoy some of the world building and the last few chapters were pretty good. I wish we would have gotten a bit more of a
Pavlina Read more sleep less blog

ARC kindly provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Amelia, free market Puritan
Apr 15, 2012 marked it as not-my-type
Shelves: ya-kids-teen
ohh, que lastima.
(view spoiler)
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shockingly enjoyable. Ofc Nutcracker statues are what...half a genre and a couple centuries from androids so of course I was screaming half the time.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
So this definitely wasn't my favorite Claire Legrand novel. It was a very different Nutcracker retelling and I appreciated that. But I think there was disconnect for me in how the story was executed. But I still enjoyed this book.

Now the world building was top notch. I literally felt like I was traveling through the world of Cane. Legrand's writing was very descriptive and imaginative. I did enjoy the magic system as well however I wish we would have spent a little more time with it. I just need
Miss Clark
Oct 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one. Ever. In any universe. Parallel or alternate.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Mermaid Moon
  • Rose & Thorn (Ash & Bramble, #2)
  • These Vengeful Souls (These Vicious Masks, #3)
  • The Princess Will Save You (Kingdoms of Sand and Sky, #1)
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Secret of the Realms
  • The Last Bear
  • These Ruthless Deeds (These Vicious Masks, #2)
  • Arthur and the Golden Rope (Paperback) (Brownstone's Mythical Collection)
  • Among the Beasts & Briars
  • Beware the Wild (Beware the Wild, #1)
  • Forest of Souls (Shamanborn, #1)
  • Furious (Anger Management, #2)
  • Chainbreaker (Timekeeper, #2)
  • Misunderstood (YA - Neighbor from Hell #1)
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)
  • RoseBlood
  • The Guardian (The Faerie Wars, #1)
  • House of Salt and Sorrows
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Claire Legrand used to be a musician until she realized she couldn’t stop thinking about the stories in her head. Now she is a librarian and New York Times bestselling author living in central New Jersey.

Her first novel is THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, one of the New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing in 2012. She is also the author of THE YEAR OF SHADOWS, a ghost st

Related Articles

As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
42 likes · 10 comments
“You cannot shy away from yourself. Look the world in the eye, and it can do nothing to hurt you.” 32 likes
“You’re powerful, Clara. Or you could be, if you would let go of your fear long enough to realize it.” 14 likes
More quotes…