by Paul Thompson
The story behind The Nutcracker is a world full of magic and mystery that rushes toward young Fritz, whether he’s ready or not. For many years an orphan, Fritz, and his younger brother Franz have been living and working at Ivanov’s Home for Orphaned Boys. Sadly, this is not a place where the boys are educated and cared for while waiting for a loving family to adopt them. Instead, it’s a place of physical labor and frequent abuse. But, what are the boys to do?
One night, when Franz is threatened by headmaster Ivanov, Fritz discovers that he contains a mysterious power. When his magical power “snaps,” a wizard appears to whisk Fritz and Franz away. Fritz could never have anticipated how this event would shape the course of his life forever.
Fritz becomes the apprentice of the old and very powerful wizard, Boroda. Franz’s memory of Fritz is erased for his safety, and he is sent to live elsewhere. In a single day, Fritz learns of the existence of magic, realizes that he can command it, and loses his brother. As you can imagine, this is a very emotional time for the young man.
In the story that ensues, Fritz is thrust into the magical, political arena of The Order and discovers that this group of wizards doesn’t always get along. In fact, several attempts are made to end Boroda and Fritz’s lives. The question is, who is behind the attacks? Could one of the other wizards be trying to take over The Order by force?
Fritz is tired of being manipulated and abused by those more powerful than him. He is determined to remain at the center of this conflict and do whatever is necessary to reveal the hidden enemy and defeat them.
As a Friend of the Author…
I really enjoyed this book! And I’m not just saying that because the author, Paul Thompson, is an old friend of mine and a college roommate. Paul is a highly talented writer, so the plot is solid and direct, taking the reader exactly where they need to go, without unnecessary side quests that add nothing to the main story.
The book is targeted at young adults, and the story meets all of the criteria of a good YA novel: action, romance, and an underdog that discovers his inner strength and rises up to confront those who are abusing their societal, financial, physical, or magical strength.
There will always be weak people. There will always be powerful people. There will always be tyrants until someone stands up and says, “No.”
— Othar, First Wizard of The Order
If you are a parent considering the next read for your teen reader, I might suggest saving this book for your older readers (perhaps 13+). I say this only because some of the fight scenes described in the book are described in somewhat gory detail that younger readers may not be well suited for.
Wait! Don’t leave yet.
OK, now that I’ve given my best attempt at a book review, it’s time to insert a shameless plug. If you enjoy listening to audiobooks, consider listening to Drosselmeyer: Curse of the Rat King on Audible. Why should you do this, you ask? Because I had the privilege of narrating this story! Listen as the characters of Drosselmeyer’s world come to life! Then, be sure to leave a review on Audible.
Click HERE to go to Audible, so you can listen to my soothing voice!
I’ll admit that, prior to narrating this book, I wasn’t very familiar with Audible. For instance, I didn’t realize that you can still purchase individual audiobooks even if you don’t subscribe to Audible.