Olivia's Reviews > The Enchanted Sonata

The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork
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bookshelves: arc, mixed-feelings

[E-ARC provided by Netgalley. This doesn’t affect my opinion or the content of my review.]

This novel was absolutely not what I expected. It wasn’t bad, and at times it was even entertaining. But issues added up, and I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would, based on the synopsis.

The pacing was perhaps my biggest problem. Clara, the protagonist, isn’t transported to the nutcracker’s world until nearly 25% through, and has an idea of how to solve the problem before the halfway point. Then, around the 60% mark, they had a plan and were prepared to put it in motion. Many chapters felt like filler, and at multiple points I wondered what would happen in the remainder of the novel, why there was still x% left when the situation was in the protagonists’ favor.

Something else that bothered me as I read was the writing style. Wallwork frequently uses italics and parentheses; the former emphasizes words that don’t need it, rendering the technique useless, while the latter merely annoyed me. I’m sure it’s widely known that emphasizing more means you don’t really emphasize anything (although maybe I’m being petty). If it pained you to read that as much as it pained me to write it, imagine this writing style used throughout a novel. I’m sorry, but no. Just no.

Now that my complaints are out of the way, I must say that many other elements in the novel felt flat. I didn’t connect or even really care about Clara, and it took most of the novel for Nikolai to grow on me even a little bit. Clara was ridiculously sappy; I don’t mind romantic characters. I’m a romantic myself. But she was dead set on marrying a man she’d barely spoken to, simply because she admired him as a pianist.

That aside, the attempts at humor scattered throughout dialogue were cheesy and rarely succeeded in making me even smile. I lost count of how many times I rolled my eyes.

I did like how focused on music the story was. Although I don’t know enough about music to be familiar with all of the terms, it’s an integral part in this story and the magic, and I found that fascinating. I was lowkey tempted to make an instrumental playlist to match the described songs.

I also found the end a bit unsatisfying. After everything is said and done, Clara and Nikolai talk. That’s it. I would’ve liked more of a physical resolution, rather than a verbal one. I would’ve liked if they followed through with the plans they made. I think that would’ve made it more enjoyable, and admittedly, more worth my time trudging through the middle. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I didn’t hate or love this novel. To be honest, I’m just glad to be done with it. I recommend it to those who like music, magic, and more lighthearted, nonsensical stories, though I do recommend it with a grain of salt.
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Reading Progress

December 2, 2018 – Shelved
December 2, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
January 12, 2019 – Started Reading
January 12, 2019 –
4.0% "so far this is very…sappy"
January 12, 2019 –
9.0% "this is odd but not in a bad way"
January 12, 2019 –
21.0% "so many ridiculous things in one chapter…"
January 13, 2019 –
January 15, 2019 – Shelved as: mixed-feelings
January 15, 2019 – Shelved as: arc
January 15, 2019 – Finished Reading

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