Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Winterspell - 

Claire Legrand
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 Legrand, whose writing style I absolutely LOVE, as you can see from my reviews of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls and The Year of Shadows.
Not to mention that Kate Beaton managed to prove that The Nutcracker can lend itself to worthy retellings:

Still, I was a little apprehensive - Susana disliked Winterspell, and we tend to like, or dislike, the same books... Not to mention the fact that I really disliked the Summerfall novella...

There was nothing to do but to read it myself. I mean, I've had it pre-ordered for months now, and I was really, really looking forward to having the actual book in my hands - and I was fortunate enough to receive an arc!

Sadly, I really couldn't connect with this book.

The pacing is dreadfully slow, I couldn't bring myself to like Clara, I abhorred the victim blaming that permeated the whole book, and, worst of all, there was the disappointment that Legrand wrote this.

I don't understand how Claire Legrand writes such amazing Middle Grade books only to end up writing... this. I read up to 50% mark and I had to give up, I felt guilty somehow, for disliking it so much, I mean this is Claire Legrand!

I love how she has always written mature, determined and independent female leads - Victoria and Olivia hold a special place in my heart. They feel real, they are strong, you root for them, and you love them long after you've read the books.
And while I held some hope - not for Clara, but for Anise, this hope was dashed.
The relationships Legrand writes in MG are amazingly complex and satisfying. To quote myself: "Claire Legrand writes perfect little one-day-maybe OTPs". 

So I was extremely excited to finally read an actual OTP. Imagine my disappointment when the relationship was underdeveloped, their ~love~ rushed and senseless - she didn't know him, after all! He was a statue! - and the whole thing extremely boring.

Besides, while supposedly YA, it read an awful lot like New Adult... which I hate.

All in all, I was extremely disappointed. 
I can only hope Claire Legrand will keep writing Middle Grade books, she truly excels at those.

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