A spindle splintered by Alix E. Harrow

cover image

Lovers of fairy tales retold are sure to enjoy this retelling of Sleeping Beauty, which was a Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novella (2022), and Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fantasy (2021).

Zinnia Grey has just turned 21 and because she is suffering from a rare disease, may never see the age of 22. Her best friend Charm is determined to give her a memorable birthday, housed in a tower with a spindle, because she has always been invested in the Sleeping Beauty tale. When Zinnia pricks her finger she finds herself in an alternative world with another Sleeping Beauty, Primrose, who wants to escape her fate.

Harrow turns the tale of Sleeping Beauty on its head as Zinnia and Primrose, with the help of a fairy godmother, manage to break their curses, while calling on countless other Sleeping Beauties to assist. Zinnia learns what it is like to be a heroine and save others and her life begins to have meaning.

Harrow concentrates on the strength of women and female friendship, often with laugh out loud moments in her narrative. The blossoming romance between Charm and Primrose is deftly handled.

This was a quick read and is certain to appeal to readers who like fairy tale tropes upset and who have enjoyed books by Laini Taylor, Neil Gaiman and Shannon Hale.

Themes: Fantasy, Fairy tale retelling, Feminism.

Pat Pledger