There is a part of all of us, deep down, that loves fairy tales. Or why else would contemporary authors continue to create new versions, desperate to add something magically new to stories we’ve heard many, MANY times? Just as the very talented author Alix E. Harrow must have hoped to do in A SPINDLE SPLINTERED. Awarded three stars on Goodreads.
This novella takes a new stab at the Sleeping Beauty legend, adding a decidedly feminist twist with LGBTQ overtones. Zinnia Gray, who recently graduated with a college degree in (what else?) fairy tales, is celebrating her 21st birthday, though it’s necessarily a dark celebration. Everyone, including Zinnia, knows this is likely her last birthday. Like many in her town, Zinnia is cursed with an environmentally caused condition that is slowly killing her. And NO ONE with her illness has made it to 22 years of age.
So, understanding Zinnia’s love of fairy tales, Zinnia’s best friend, Charm, arranges a particularly special birthday celebration — a sort of reenactment of Sleeping Beauty, complete with abandoned tower and spinning wheel. Of course, it doesn’t go quite as planned and Zinnia finds herself in a different world, meeting another sleeping beauty who, just like Zinnia, is trying to escape her fate.
Like all Harrow’s books, this is very well written. And a quick read. It’s also just the first of a series of new takes on old fairy tales that Harrow plans. But for me, this one was just OK. Nothing special. I much prefer the originality she displays in her novels.
More about the author.
You may be interested in my reviews of Harrow’s novels.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January