Tuesday 13 December 2022

Book Review | Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar | prettylittlewriter

‘There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms.

When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary.

But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.’

This is an absolutely beautiful story. Kuzniar has created this wonderful magical world full of hope and desire, with some dark and twisted secrets. The Nutcracker meets Hansel and Gretel & The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe vibes.  


Marietta is a wonderful character, full of passion and love for Ballet, desperate for a chance to break free from her ‘gilded cage’ within society. When she meets the wondrous Dr Drosselmeier and his magical inventions, both Marietta and her family are taken in by him. That is until he shows her his true colours after she declines his marriage proposal. Marietta escapes his grasp by locking herself inside a grandfather clock that he has created for her Sleeping Beauty performance on Christmas Day, but instead of being trapped inside a small wooden structure, she finds herself wandering into a new world, which is full of wondrous magic, sweet scents and complicated characters.


This world might have Marietta in awe at the start, but there are some dark and scary parts of Everwood, especially the forest, so when she is found stumbling around the woods by soldiers, she is taken to the palace and greeted by King Golem. If you thought Drosselmeier was bad, prepare yourself for the wrath of King Golem.


Every description of Everwood is incredibly lyrical, and I genuinely could picture almost everything that was described, from the pools with toffee scented bubbles, to the dresses covered in frosting and walls made from peppermint.

It felt so magical and without the terribly scary parts/people, I think it would be a wonderful place to live.


The storyline had me hooked very quickly, my empathy for Marietta and her plight, alongside her brother Frederick, kept me praying they would both escape their makeshift prisons.


When Marietta met Captain Legat and the other soldiers, I was expecting her to fall for one of them, but Legat himself was not the initial character I expected. But as the story progressed, I hoped so strongly that they would be able to be together, waiting with anticipation for them to have their first kiss.


Marietta also made some incredibly wonderful friends in Dellara and Pirlipata, and I was in awe of their friendship and protectiveness towards each other.


The only thing I was a little sad about was the ending. It wasn’t the magical romantic happy ending I was hoping for (I was very invested in Marietta’s love life by the end) but I was very glad that Marietta had her own solo happy ending.  


I won’t go into any further details, as I don’t want to spoil too much, but I would honestly recommend this book 1000% to anyone that love YA fairytale-esque stories, it truly was a wonderful read and I really hope that Maria delves back into this world again!


5/5 stars

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