Stefan Drosselmeyer is a reluctant apprentice to his toymaker father until the day his world is turned upside down. His father is kidnapped and Stefan is enlisted by his mysterious cousin, Christian Drosselmeyer, to find a mythical nut to save a princess who has been turned into a wooden doll.
Embarking on a wild adventure through Germany, Stefan must save Boldavia’s princess and his own father from the fanatical Mouse Queen and her seven-headed Mouse Prince, both of whom have sworn to destroy the Drosselmeyer family.
[Based on the original inspiration for the Nutcracker ballet, the author brings the Nutcracker Prince to life in this fascinating journey into a world of toymaking, magical curses, clockmaking guilds, talking mice and erudite squirrels.]
Description taken from Goodreads.
I was excited to start this one because it’s Sherri L. Smith, but I was wary because this a Nutcracker origin-type story and it’s a fantasy. I’d never read Smith’s fantasy before, and in retrospect, I still prefer her historical fiction and dystopian novels.
The Toymaker’s Apprentice had the same great writing as Smith’s other novels, but it lacked in everything else. The characters fell flat and the plot was okay, but it just wasn’t for me. There were a bunch of steampunk/history themes, and there was a whole thing about mice kingdoms, but I wasn’t engaged at all in the story.
The story was amusing and I was constantly being surprised, so I got through this novel and actually enjoyed several parts of it because of the great narration. I especially loved the beginning of Stefan and Christian’s journeys. But overall, the only reason why I would recommend this book is as a filler novel on Christmas lists. Not bad, but nothing special. 2 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 400