Thursday, March 2, 2017

Book Review: Spindle's End by Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley is one of those authors that everyone seems to know about, but I had never read one of her books. I won a copy of Spindle's End at a book swap party a while back and began reading it the week after. It did take me a while to get through it, but that isn't a bad thing. In fact, reading through it slowly made me enjoy the story even more.

Spindle's End is a retelling/twisting of a classic fairytale. And by twisted, I mean Robin McKinley took the story of Sleeping Beauty we all know and turned it on its head. The story begins by following Katriona, a fairy from the outskirts of the kingdom who takes the baby princess (Briar-Rose) after she is cursed by the evil fairy Pernicia on her name-day. Katronia takes Rosie to her home in Foggy Bottom, and between herself and her aunt, raise Rosie as one of their own. No one knows Rosie's true identity, and, if she is to survive beyond her twenty-first birthday, it needs to stay that way.

What I loved about McKinley's version of this story is she took it far and beyond the Grimm Brothers' tale, and even further past Disney's version. McKinley's version begins even before Rosie is born, follows her while she is growing up, and does not end the way that you expect it to. Spindle's End is like drinking a cup of hot cocoa....with a shot in it. Warm, comforting and familiar, but also different and a bit of a shock when it veers away from the story you're expecting. I throughly enjoyed the plot, characters, and world building.

Was I absolutely in love with everything about the story? No. But that was because there were a few things that just didn't fit my particular tastes. While I loved all of the human characters, the animal characters with their names and descriptions were difficult to keep track of. Sunflower is a dog (I believe) but I can't for the life of me tell you much more than that. I liked the little guy (or girl) and Sunflower plays a pretty significant role towards the end of the book, but I can't tell you what he looks like. Unfortunately, that happened with more than a few of the animal characters.

Also, McKinley's writing style was a little difficult to get used to. She's not a straightforward writer; she likes to use great descriptive words and flowery language to describe Rosie's world. Eventually, I did get used to the style, but it took a while to do so.

Will I read another one of McKinley's books? Most likely. After reading Spindle's End and The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer, I'm developing a taste for retellings of old fairytales.

Emily is not sure what she's going to dive in to next. She has a stack of books that are calling her name; she just doesn't know where to begin! 

1 comment:

  1. I love retelling of fairy tales, probably goes back to my favorite show of all time "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show". "Fracture Fairy Tales" cracked me up, they still do. I do like the darker retellings of fairy tales and ones that turn the tales on their heads. I have a couple of drafts of stories loosely based on the "Wizard of Oz" and "Alice Through the Looking Glass". They have working titles of "Follow" and “Turn Left Past the Looking Glass”.

    I’ll have to add Robin McKinley’s books to my reading list.

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