Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms comes to theaters on November 2nd, but eager fans can experience the story right now through a deluxe novelization from Disney Press. If you’ve seen the film, you may still be intrigued to diver deeper into the story, as this release promises to be extended. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Secret of the Realms – An Extended Novelization will give curious readers all of the secrets of the Land of Sweets, the Land of Flowers, the Land of Snowflakes, and the Land of Amusements.
Christmas doesn’t feel the same this year for Clara and her family, who are still mourning the loss of her beloved mother, Marie. When her father passes out the last gifts from her late mother, the inventive Clara is surprised to receive an elaborate egg-shaped box that is locked without a key. The note from her mother says “Everything you need is inside,” which makes her desperate to find a way to unlock it.
Clara brings the egg with her to Godfather Drosselmeyer’s annual Christmas party that evening in hopes that he can help her. She is heartbroken that he doesn’t have a way to open it, but is soon distracted by his annual gift giving tradition of following a string through his garden to a unique gift for each child. But Clara’s string leads her away from the garden and far into his elaborate mansion, through a curious door that transports her into the Four Realms, a world of magic, wonder, and a little danger.
The key is eternally out of Clara’s reach as she travels through the realms and is aided by Captain Phillip, a Nutcracker Soldier who leads her away from the terrifying Mouse King and into the Land of Sweets. It is there that she meets three of the regents of the four realms (Sugar Plum Fairy, Hawthorne, and Shiver) and learns of the discord with Mother Ginger, regent of the fourth realm. If Clara is to get the key she needs to unlock her mother’s final gift, she will need to join the Nutcrackers and venture into the twisted Land of Amusements to conquer her fears.
This novelization is adapted by Meredith Rusu and based on the screenplay by Ashleigh Powell. Having not yet seen the film, it’s hard to say how much is expanded and how much appears on screen. The chapters change characters every so often, with lots of back and forth between Marie’s time in the realms creating this wondrous world and Clara in the present, dealing with the way her mother’s death has impacted her creations.
It’s impossible to not draw comparisons to other great fantasy stories while reading this novel, particularly The Chronicles of Narnia and The Wizard of Oz. The plot has some unexpected twists and turns and Clara is a very inspiring character. The book offers a glimpse at what audiences can expect when they see the film, wetting your appetite for the visual feast it promises to be while also giving away all of the plot points. If you want to be surprised in the theater, do not read this until after your family outing.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Secret of the Realms – An Extended Novelization is a deluxe reading experience, with a beautiful foil embossed cover and illustrations from key moments in the story at the beginning of each chapter, courtesy of Thomas Fluharty. The reading level is perfect for ages 9 and up and the promise of an extended experience is sure to entice kids who loved the film to keep reading on.