Parents' Guide to


By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

No sugar plum fairies in fevered, violent Nutcracker tale.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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For readers who aren't fans of magic-and-violence-infused bodice-rippers, WINTERSPELL will probably collapse under the sheer weight of its ponderously overwrought prose. Here’s a sampling: "Wicked images overtook her thoughts. It was as though her new clothes, the air upon skin so unaccustomed to it, the knowledge of where Afa had been and what she might have been doing, and the close press of Nicholas against her thigh -- this entire monstrously unfamiliar experience -- was spinning her out of control. And she had to be in control, for her own sake, for her family's. She had to clamp down on her wandering thoughts, this salacious curiosity, the new pulse of her blood that seemed horribly synchronous with the pounding music upstairs." The plot seems mostly contrived to raise the specter of sexual violence and get the protagonist into bed with male and female characters, as well as into various states of undress -- all in the name of saving the world.

For genre fans, though, this over-the-top stuff is all part of the fun, and Winterspell offers an imaginative diversion.

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