The Nutcracker

Author: E. T. A. Hoffmann
Translation: Joachim Neugroschel
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing date: 2014
Pages: 112

The Nutcracker is a classical story most of the people are familiar with for the legendary ballet version. Shocking as it is, I've actually never seen the ballet performance, and therefore didn't know the story behind it. This year I finally remedied that and read The Nutcracker in this gorgeous edition, which is a part of Penguin Christmas Classics collection. It tells a story about Marie who receives the Nutcracker as a gift. She loves her new toy very dearly, but her brother Fritz breaks its teeth by putting too many nuts in its mouth to crack. Marie decides to take care of her new toy and fondly puts the Nutcracker to rest for the night. But before she goes to bed, weird things start to happen. Devilish mice and an awful mouse king with seven heads start a battle and Merie and Fritz's toys have to come alive to beat them...

I loved the opening scene of the story. It was very atmospheric and oh, so Christmassy. It felt really magical and I enjoyed every sentence up until the battle between the mice and toys. It was still very beautifully written, but from that point it kind of stopped feeling Christmassy to me. Which is mainly the reason why I gave this book only four out of five stars. I guess I expected it to be festive and sweet, homely even, instead of the adventurous and action driven plot I have got. To tell the truth, some parts were kind of scary, too. If I put my expectations aside, however, I think it's still a nice little book to curl up with in some comfy place, and lose yourself in a world of wonders and dreams of childhood for a little while. Christmas definitely seems like the best time for it...

Rating: 4/5