The world of The Toymaker’s Apprentice is one of the most unique I’ve read. Readers will move from a small house of a toymaker to castle walls to homes of squirrels and be mesmerized again and again. The chapters following Ernst Listz are particularly description, and I love how he knows so much rat history. The environment of the Mouse Queen and her sons presents an interesting area of madness, war, and surprising friendship.
With short chapters and frequent dialogue, this story reads quickly, and Smith expertly keeps the reader aware of what is going on with each character, even as their stories switch back and forth throughout. The character relationships progress wonderfully, especially between Stefan, Christian, and Samir. Christian and Stefan start the story as complete strangers, but they truly become family by the end.
Middle grade readers who want their stories filled with magic, adventure, and the importance of family will not be disappointed with The Toymaker’s Apprentice. Sherri L. Smith writes a beautiful story that makes the perfect addition to the reimagined Nutcracker line.