Friday, April 14, 2017

Book Review: Spindle Fire

Title: Spindle Fire (Spindle Fire #1)
Author: Lexa Hillyer
Genre: Young Adult | Retellings | Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king's headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.
And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora's blood--and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.
As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.
Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay (goodreads).

Spindle Fire was a fresh take on a beloved tale. 
Plot: I can't say 'no' to a retelling no matter how many times it has been done, but I do admit that I have gotten retelling 'fatigue'. I expected Spindle Fire to follow the formula we've come to expect in many Young Adult fantasy novels, but I was pleasantly surprised by the direction that Hillyer took. 

Princess Aurora was fated to marry a neighboring prince, while her half-sister Isabelle (or Isbe) only served as her most trusted friend. After a string of random murders and the realization of a curse, both young ladies found themselves on an adventure to explain what was happening in their world and how the faeries were involved. I loved how creative this retelling was; it still felt like a Sleeping Beauty retelling, but Hillyer clearly refused to be put in a box. The most important themes of Spindle Fire surrounded the idea of true love and sisterhood and I can't wait to see how things are wrapped up in the concluding novel. Be warned, the ending was very, very, very abrupt. 

Characters: Isabelle and Aurora were introduced as being night and day but I didn't see anything different from the girls other than their physical differences. Isabelle was so sure that Aurora was perfect in every way, but I saw the same qualities in Isabelle that I did in Aurora. I loved how much the two doted on each other though. They grew up together, and in their isolation, were under the impression that they needed each other to function. The events of Spindle Fire allowed them to find their own strengths and consider their role in the world. 

Both characters had their own disadvantages. As a child, a faerie took Isbe's sight, and Aurora lost her sense of touch and the ability to speak. It took me some time to truly believe that Isbe was blind in her chapters. Her earlier chapters didn't differ from Aurora's perspective which I thought was a disappointment given the fact that she had a different way of seeing the world. Aurora's chapters; however, were very interesting because she has no concept of touch, and I found her inspections and views on the sense to be plausible and I loved how the author wrote those chapters.

The love stories in Spindle Fire were very interesting. I'm not too sure what message Hillyer was aiming for, but I can't wait to see how these stories progress.

Worldbuilding: The world of Spindle Fire was standard in terms of fantasy worlds, but I liked the addition of incorporating the past ad present to better understand the conflicts. It took me a long time to get into the world because the novel was told in the present tense, and my brain couldn't process what was in the past and what was in the present. But that was a personal problem I'm sure.

Short N Sweet: Spindle Fire was a unique spin on Sleeping Beauty with an interesting take on the lessons we learned from fairytales.


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