**Thank you Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for providing this in exchange for an honest review**
I really wanted to like this story. This is the first fairy tale retelling of The Nutcracker I've read. While I've never been a huge fan of the story itself, its linked to happy childhood memories. For that reason, I always enjoy it on some level. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about this version of it. I had many issues with this book. The pace of the story goes back and forth between fast paced action and almost stand still nothingness; there isn't a whole lot of character growth (and when there is, it happens in the blink of an eye), and the message that a guy can say/do whatever he wants and its ok as long as he says he is sorry. My biggest problem with this book, though, was Clara. She tears herself down and blames herself for the most ridiculous things. The creepy pedophile doctor learing at her? Her fault. Father wants to turn his back on the the underground syndicate he is a part of and they retaliate? Her fault. Another problem I had with Clara was her almost instant forgiveness towards Nicholas. He throws her to the wolves when certain people grow suspicious of her. He says he is going to force her to bind with him, which will strip her of freewill and force her to do whatever he commands. But that's ok! He says he is sorry, so lets forget about it. Clara almost makes Bella look like a good role model.
I'm sorry to say, there isn't much I can say I liked about this title. I did like Anise, Godfather and Bo. I wish we saw more of the Loks. A real battle with them could have been awesome. I would have like the fairies to have been more original. They were almost exact copies of the Iron Fey from Julie Kagawa's series. While I didn't care for this title, it seems almost everyone else did. I hope to enjoy the author's next book more then this one.