About The Book
In the darkness of night, magic awaits and you will never forget what you find here. The Nutcracker for adults, perfect for fans of Robert Dinsdale’s The Toymakers, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and Stephanie Garber’s Caraval.
All I knew about this book was that it’s a ‘Nutcracker’ retelling with a stunning cover. Since, I read ‘The Toymakers Apprentice’, which is also a ‘Nutcracker’ retelling, and loved it, I decided to give this one a try.
The story is set in the 1900’s and follows an aspiring ballerina, Marietta. Throughout the book, Marietta expresses her desire to dance professionally, but her parents are more concerned with their social status, and getting Marietta married, to lend her dreams any consideration. Her parents were cruel and unfeeling, which worked well with the story the author was trying tell.
As for Marietta, I found her to be stubborn, but strong. Smart, yet childish. She reminded me of Belle, from ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Her goal in life wasn’t to be a wife and mother. She wanted to choose her own path.
Marietta’s brother, Frederick, was a much needed addition to the story. He wasn’t afraid to remind his sister of her privilege, while still supporting her dreams. Although, he followed his parents’ plans for his future, and kept his relationship a secret, he wasn’t bitter about the life he had.
When a new charming man arrives in town, Marietta wasn’t impressed by him. She wasn’t fooled by his façade, and knew there was more to him than met the eye. It felt as though people shrugged off her concerns because she was a woman, which is all too true for that time period.
At first, I found the story a little confusing, and my mind kept wandering. But once the magical realism aspect was introduced, I fell in love with the story. The author created a world that transported the reader into an enchanted, but scary land. It was easy to see how Marietta was fooled by the king, and also by Everwood’s beauty.
“Never dull your sparkle for anyone else, flame fiercely into your own glittering future.”
While in Everwood, Marietta meets two other girls who are trapped within the kingdom as well. They forge a bond that is strong, and somewhat sisterly. And, they start to fight back. The girls in the book are seen as something to be owned, and will bend to a man’s will.
In the book, Marietta starts to connect with the captain of the King’s Arm. Let’s just say that he was swoon-worthy. His and Marietta’s relationship felt real, even though Marietta didn’t belong there. It shows that you can find love in the most unexpected places.
The ending was amazing, and had a strong message of following your dreams, no matter the cost. Still, the ending was quite sad, yet it plays off the famous quote “’It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”
Overall, the plot focuses on privilege, and if having money is worth sacrificing your dreams. As for the writing style, it was a slow paced story with poetic writing. Much like ‘The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein’ by Kiersten White, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
There are a lot of triggering topics in this book. To name a few, there’s sexism, violence, and stalking. Please do your research before reading it. You can visit the book’s StoryGraph page to see a full list of all the content warnings for the book.
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Until The Next Chapter,
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Related Post: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein // Book Review