Hello humans! Is it time to revisit a Want to Read Wednesday book from days gone by? I finally got round to reading the copy of Spindle Fire my darling husband got me for Christmas last year and I have some thoughts and feelings.
It all started with the burning of the spindles.
It all started with a curse…
Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.
And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.
As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.
Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape…or the reason for her to stay.
I will preface this review by saying that this year I have read more retellings than I have fingers, it is impossible to count the number on both hands, my toes have had to get involved. I think that might have had a bearing on why I was slightly disappointed by this book since compared to some of those other retellings it fell a little flat. There is also the difficulty of having built up a book in your own mind to a point where it will always feel a little bit meh.
I do think this was a clever way to retell the story, as a dual POV between two sisters, one of whom (Isabelle) is blind the other of which is the well known Aurora (though in this story she is unable to speak). The idea of fairy tithes alongside the gifts was also an incredibly clever addition, as was the way in which the two girls deal with the idea that their parents valued beauty over the ability to speak. It says something about the role of parents in the lives of young women and what they themselves are brought up to value. Another thing I thought was very interesting was the idea of exploring what Aurora was doing while in her enchanted sleep, I’m all for a trip into the world of sinister fae so again this should have been amazing.
For me, however, there was something in the writing which left me wanting more, and not in a good way. Perhaps I should say that it left me unsatisfied. The dialogue felt a little clunky or mismatched (in part due to the limitations of both sisters but also in other bits of dialogue) and even for a fantasy novel some of the coincidences felt all too unbelievable. What I wanted to be a story about two sisters overcoming the societal and parental assumptions placed upon them became more of a set of romantic scenes in different locations. I don’t think that is inherently a bad thing, I just wanted this to be so much more than that.
It is a clever retelling and it was enjoyable to read, but I don’t think this is the best retelling on the market and if I could I would have changed a number of things just to make it more to my taste. If you loved this book that is absolutely wonderful and I can definitely see a lot of people really enjoying it, but in my case, it wasn’t quite my cup of tea.
I do hold out hope for the sequel Winterglass which releases on April 10th this year (2018 to all future readers). I think that second novels have huge potential to be places where characters and plotlines can wholeheartedly flourish. I am looking forward to seeing these characters grow.
My rating: 3.5 stars (rounded to 4)
All opinions are my own.
What say you? Am I missing something? Let me know in the comments below!