Sunday, 19 July 2009

Spindle's End by Robin McKinley

2002 David Fickling Books
259 pages
Library copy

Clouds: 2/5
Cushions: 2/5
Smiles: 2/5
Tissues: 2/5
Overall rating: 4/5

The story of sleeping beauty: a tale of a beautiful princess, who receives a curse from a wicked fairy that will have her pricking her finger on a spinning wheel that will send her to sleep, only to be woken up by love's first true kiss, right? Well, not exactly, not in Robin's retelling of this famous fairy tale.

For those who have seen a famous cartoon version, remember how all the animals loved Sleeping Beauty? In this version, Rosie (aka Sleeping Beauty) ends up living in a fairy house. For someone who has no fairy lineage, saving the somewhat pointless attributes given by 20 of her fairy godmothers at the ill-fated naming ceremony, Rosie can talk to animals. Unlike the normal run of the mill baby magic which most children grow out of, it's a talent which she never grows out of. It's one that proves useful during her life among the people she comes to call family.

Magic is on every page of this well written tale. Curled up on the sofa, I could clearly see people in Rosie's village muttering words to keep objects in their original shape. How Rosie comes to leave her royal parents is a completely different take on the story. There is no detail too small, every image of Rosie's world is painted clearly for the reader. Rosie does find her prince - in a manner of speaking. She isn't alone in this tale - she has friends among the villagers (no little woodcutter's cottage for her). This friendship isn't without trouble. And she has a job! It isn't the ending I expected, although it is an HEA.

The only small quibble I have with Spindle's End is from the time when Rosie finds out she's a princess, to when everyone falls asleep under Pernicia's (the evil fairy) spell. It might have been my eagerness to get to the grand battle, but this part of the book dragged a little and didn't feel right as I read it. Other than that, there is nothing to fault in this exquisite retelling of an ordinary fairy tale.

Robin McKinley's website is here. I hope, in time, to read her other books.

If you liked this, try Talon, by Janet Lee Carey


Live, Love, Laugh, Write! said...

That looks really good! I just ordered it from the library :D

Nayuleska said...

Yay! Let me know what you think, whether you agree about the slightly slower part.