Review: The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

The Enchanted Sonata

Author: Heather Dixon Wallwork
Publisher: The Wallworkshop (October 23, 2018)
Paperback, 365 pages
Goodreads     |     Amazon (KindleUnlimited)

Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: to marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!) and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes on Christmas Eve, when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker. 

Whisked away to his world—an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince—Clara must face a magician who uses music as spells…and the future she thought she wanted.

The Enchanted Sonata, a retelling of The Nutcracker Ballet with a dash of The Pied Piper, will captivate readers of all ages.

Rating: 4 stars

I actually almost DNF’d this book at about 25% because I just couldn’t get into it. BOY, am I glad I pushed through and kept reading! I simply adored that second half of this book. Somewhere around the time Clara and Nutcracker are dropped into the snow in the North Forest (around Chapter 11 or 12) it finally clicked for me. There is just TOO MUCH back story and lead up, and it’s not until Clara and Nutcracker finally start interacting that the story truly comes alive. That being said, all that back story really is necessary for the rest of the book to take place in the way that it does, and I’m not sure how the author could have done it differently and achieved the same effect in the second half of the book. And the second half was amazing enough that it brought me from an almost DNF to leaving a 4 star rating so… There is that!

I love that this is a retelling of a blend of The Nutcracker and The Pied Piper. And what an amazing blend it is! The stories are interwoven so skillfully! I love the magic and the world building, and Heather Dixon Wallwork writes so beautifully it’s almost as if you’re transported there and can smell the gingerbreak and peppermint and hot chocolate in the air (much like Clara’s fairy storybook!) I live for the small romance story moments between Clara and Nutcracker (*swoon*). There were also several moments in this book where I had flashbacks to the Carebears Nutcracker Suite movie. Does anyone else remember that movie, or is it just us dinosaurs?

There were some unresolved elements at the end, which are kind of killing me, and as I read an ARC I’m wondering if they were possibly wrapped up in the final version. Guess I’ll have to get my hands on the final version to figure out if they actually say what ever happened to the bad guy! All in all, this is a fun YA fantasy/YA romance, and definitely worth the read, especially if you’re into fairy tale retellings and *especially* if you love retellings of less known fairy tales that don’t get retold as often, like The Pied Piper (and hey, we’ll count The Nutcracker as a fairy tale too). 

*A digital copy of this book was provided for review.

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