The book I’m talking about today is extremely fitting for the holiday season. When I was asked if I wanted to read The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork and was given a synopsis, I immediately said yes. I like a wide range of books, but this kind of book really has a special place in my heart. The Enchanted Sonata is described as a retelling cross between The Nutcracker and The Pied Piper. It’s about a 16 year old girl named Clara who has been studying for years to become a famous pianist who is magically transported to another world where there are rats trying to invade cities and kill people and the candies are plentiful and beautiful.
On Christmas Eve night, Clara finds a nutcracker and book under her tree and has no idea who they are from. She begins reading the story to her mother and brother. She stops reading, her mother and brother go to bed, and Clara stays up to practice the piano for her concert on Christmas day. Then somehow she is transported to another world, as mentioned above. Nikolai is an 18 year old, or soon to be 18 year old (I don’t remember) prince of his kingdom. His father, the emperor, was killed years ago and soon Nikolai will be coronated and become the emperor. But a mysterious young man with a flute has other plans for Nikolai. He begins playing his flute one night which puts all the children in the kingdom under a spell and they are turned in to toys! He then plays a different song which starts turning soldiers in to nutcrackers. The prince is also transformed, but something went wrong and he was not completely toy nutcracker. Instead, he became an 8 foot tall nutcracker who can speak, walk, fight, etc. After realizing the fairies have brought Clara to this world for a reason, Clara and Nikolai/Nutcracker work together to save the kingdom. And of course there is a love element to the story!
I really loved this book and I could not put it down. I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen and at the same time I didn’t want to finish the book and have to say goodbye to this whimsical, beautiful, fairytale land.
But not everything was rainbows and gumdrops in this book – don’t be mistaken and think this is a kiddy book. There are some darker elements in the book with revenge plots and murders. In fact, on one page the author writes about the amazing things the fairies do like caress blossoms open in the spring and usher in the first snowflakes and then a few pages later it turns dark and ominous. When Clara is reading the book she found and it starts talking about the mysterious flute player, the bad guy, the book actually says “HE IS COMING, Miss Clara Stahlbaum, to your far away country and now you will play a part in the fairy book you hold in your hands.” Needless to say, she slams the book shut after reading that and I would’ve done the same thing! I mean, I’m just reading this fictional story about her reading this in her book and I was a little creeped out!
I really enjoyed how descriptive the writing was. I could just imagine an old style European city with cobblestone streets, Christmas decorations everywhere, giant candy and chocolate emporiums with onion shaped domes and turrets. I can imagine all the delectable treats like it was straight out of a fairy tale or Harry Potter. And that’s why this story and genre has a special place in my heart. I love books that make life just seem so magical. A fantasy world where we can escape to – I want to live in these kinds of worlds! If I were to ever write a book – and I’ve often thought about wanting to – it would be this kind of book. Something magical and beautiful. Until I can think of a good and detailed enough idea to write a book about, I’ll enjoy reading books like this one!
*This book was sent to me complimentary, but all opinions are my own.*