Review: Spindle

cover-spindleTitle: Spindle
Author: Shonna Slayton
Series: – –
Genre: YA Historical
Length: Novel
Available: Now

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Set during the Industrial Revolution, Sleeping Beauty’s happily ever after isn’t the end of the story…

In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger.

Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?

When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness—and Briar’s not immune.

If Briar wants to save the girls—and herself—she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.


Source: ARC from Entangled: Teen via NetGalley

Your enjoyment of this book will largely depend on what you’re expecting from it. If you’re here for a historical tale with a teen protagonist that happens to have a fairy tale interwoven with it, great. However, if you’re here for the fairy tale, some romance and a bit of history as a backdrop, you may be disappointed.

The historical detail here is excellent, but that’s half the problem for me. Because for the working classes, the Industrial Revolution was pretty grim, and this book is full of struggle. The pace is really slow, it takes ages for the fairy tale elements to both appear and get going, and Briar spends her entire time worried – about her siblings, her wages, what Nanny’s up to, where Henry is, what’s going on with Wheeler, what’s happening to the other girls, her friends, the prospect of joining the fight for women’s suffrage – the list goes on, and it’s pretty draining because Briar rarely catches a break.

It’s not a terrible dark, grim book where awful things are constantly waiting to ensnare the characters, it’s just slow and full of grinding realities that fairy tales don’t tend to deal with. Maybe if Henry hadn’t been off travelling for most of the book and we had the lightness of a nice romance in the middle it would have been easier, but instead we have fickle Wheeler and Briar’s confused feelings and the whole thing dragged, especially in the middle.

It’s not a bad read, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought the fairy tale element would be more, well, present. It does come in, but it takes a long while, and even then it’s more menace than magic. Things towards the end definitely ramp up in both magic and excitement, but it took a long time to get there and some of it is concluded a bit swiftly.

Having said that, I loved that this isn’t a retelling so much as a continuation of what happened after the story we all know so well. I also thought the historical setting worked perfectly and I loved Fanny and the way she changed everything in her slightly careless but always caring way.

So overall this is okay, very slow at times and heavy on historical detail and it definitely takes a while to get going. But it’s still an interesting read with plenty of excitement towards the end, if a lot less romantic or fun than I’d hoped. Read it for the history and you’ll hopefully enjoy the twist on a familiar fairy tale.


Spindle is Out Now.
Visit Shonna Slayton for more details.

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