I loved this one!
It’s only short - about seventy pages - and I listened to it as an audiobook driving back from my holiday in Devon (yes, it was great, thanks for asking), so sadly I didn’t get the full effect of Chris ‘Goth Girl’ Riddell’s amazing illustrations, but I still enjoyed it immensely.
I don’t know if Neil Gaiman has kids, but if he has it’s likely he’s been subjected to various Disney Princess-type films. You know the sort - where the implausibly small-waisted MC overcomes trials and tribulations to win the heart of the handsome prince. The sort of film set in a reality where the ultimate thing a girl could wish for, like the absolute most awesome thing that could happen to her, is marriage.
Fucking great. Where do I sign?
Don’t get me wrong - I’m not against marriage. I am married. I just resent the implication that it’s the effing be-all-and-end-all to female HEAs. What about a happily-ever-after where a girl wins a financially lucrative scholarship to study a STEM subject at the university of her choice? Or where she pursues a rewarding career, surrounding herself with likeminded people before meeting a life partner who loves and respects her as an equal? Just a thought, Disney.
Anyway, I’m starting to foam at the mouth slightly now and I’m not talking about The Sleeper and the Spindle at all.
The Sleeper and the Spindle is the sort of idea a great writer would have if they’d been subjected to horrific, frothy-pink princess films all rainy afternoon. It’s a story loosely based on Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. It’s the eve of Snow White’s wedding to her handsome prince and she’s having some pre-nuptual jitters when the dwarves come to see her to tell her that a sleeping plague is headed their way. Does Snow White wait for the prince to jump up and save everyone? NO, SHE DOES NOT! She straps on her chainmail, grabs her sword and goes to sort it out herself.
Yes, she does!
So I won’t go into the plot any further because to do so would be to give the game away. Suffice to say, there are trials and quandaries and a nice twist at the end.
There wasn’t a whole lot of characterisation, but I guess in a seventy-page book you’re not going to get a huge character arc. Likewise, the wicked witch is after that old baddie-standby Youth and Power. Again, in a short novel any thing more complicated would be hard to pull off.
I would totally recommend this to everyone and I’m going to Waterstones tomorrow to pick myself up an illustrated copy.