About the book:
12 days. 4 realms. Break the curse. Or turn into a nutcracker.
I thought I knew the main threat to my freedom.
I was wrong.
At seventeen years old, I’m not ready to marry, and yet that’s what I must do as the crown princess of Austria.
However, getting to know the foreign princes visiting my kingdom becomes the least of my worries when I touch a bespelled nutcracker and unleash a deadly curse. I have twelve days to feed the nutcracker the magical nut Crackatook. If I fail, my soul will become trapped inside the toy for all eternity and my body will turn to wood.
Instead of relying on my suitors or the king’s men to find the cure, I saddle my unicorn and sneak out of the palace. My childhood friend Philip intercepts me and makes me choose between returning to the castle or allowing him to come along.
Reluctantly, I agree to him joining me, and soon, we are off to lands filled with mythical creatures.
Will we survive all trials and find the Crackatook in time? Or will my soul become trapped in the nutcracker and my body turn to wood?
Review by Katy Haye:
(Sorry, this one has spoilers)
This was a nice premise, but I found it patchy in the extreme, I’m afraid. I liked the romance, and I actually liked Griselda far more than I did Clara (villains, you see … much more interesting character arc…).
The story was solid enough, but in many places the style was over-written. Our heroine seemed to feel obliged to point out where things were dangerous or difficult and to make sure we were aware of every time she had to make a decision. We had comments along the lines of, “despite the deadly danger posed by these snakes/scorpions/guards with swords, I must reach the other side of the valley, so here I go.” You don’t need to point out that perils are perilous because it kind of goes with the territory. Trust the reader to “get it” rather than hitting them over the head with every single one of your character’s stream of conscious thoughts.
There were quite a few conveniences that snagged me out of the story as well. I was prepared to have some “magic” explanations for things, but for example, they step onto a sailboat and immediately know how to control it, and then they cross an abyss by tightrope walking, “Don’t worry, it’s easy,” the hero calls merrily to the heroine. Hmm, I’ve never tried it, tbh, so perhaps it is, but I wasn’t convinced. And then there was the part where the hero got stabbed (with a sword, no less) and moments later he’s up and fighting again. Crikey, they make ’em tough!
Okay, but no better than that, I’m afraid.
There’s only just time to enter Piranha Katy’s Grisha giveaway (ends this weekend): you can win a collector’s edition of Six of Crows, and a *signed* edition of King of Scars.