Book Review: THE ENCHANTED SONATA by Heather Dixon Wallwork

The Nutcracker Ballet + The Pied Piper = Retelling²



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.



Title: The Enchanted Sonata

Author: Heather Dixon Wallwork

Publication: October 23, 2018 by Wallworkshop

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling

Target audience: Young Adult

Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon UK* | Book Depository

Provided by NetGally in exchange for an honest review.

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Rating: 🌵

DNF at 39%

Wow, I just realised that this book isn’t long at all, but I really had to fight my way through these 39%. I’m surprised I even got that far, actually.

I was pretty much enchanted by this book when I saw it. Cover? Gorgeous. Synopsis? Amazing.

I am a sucker for The Nutcracker Ballet and was intrigued by this retelling mixing that with The Pied Piper, which I only vaguely know because of German classes. I got to admit, I was a little surprised at the choice of combining a Russian ballet with a German legend, but with the help of our dear friend Google, I discovered that The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is actually a German story.
Huh, you never stop learning.

Also: music as magic. Wonderful. I’ve always believed music to be kind of magical.

So yeah, the story idea is amazing. I love it.

Execution? Not so much.

Now, I can’t say much to the plot or characters or whatever because first of all I haven’t read the whole book, and secondly, I just couldn’t concentrate on any of that.

I was struggling not to throw my phone away and/or break out into tears.

The writing, good Lord, the writing.

The writing wasn’t good. Not at all. It was clumsy and nonsensical and I just couldn’t bear it.

You don’t know what I mean? Some examples:

Their parents slept on, stirring a little for the draft from the open doors, but they did not stir.

They do but they don’t. Yeah no, I don’t like this.

Rat traps were large, because rats were large.

I know that the author wrote this to show the reader that rats are large, but man, that sounds awkward.

“What?” said Nikolai. “What what?”


“He is a bit of pancake-head, though”, said one of the Krystallgradians at the table.

What exactly is a pancake head and where is the article?

Now, Alexei still had that brooding expression now as he grasped the reins of one of the horses, keeping it from following its companions back into the prospect.

Why, oh why, is ‘now’ used twice?

Honestly, I could go on and on and I’ve only read 39% of this novel. I don’t want to know what else I would have encountered had I read on.

I don’t recommend this book to anyone.


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