Published by HarperCollins on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings
Buy on Amazon/Buy on B&N
It was the closest kingdom to the queen’s, as the crow flies, but not even the crows flew it.
You may think you know this story. There’s a young queen, about to be married. There are some good, brave, hardy dwarfs; a castle, shrouded in thorns; and a princess, cursed by a witch, so rumor has it, to sleep forever.
But no one is waiting for a noble prince to appear on his trusty steed here. This fairy tale is spun with a thread of dark magic, which twists and turns and glints and shines. A queen might just prove herself a hero, if a princess needs rescuing…
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman is a continuation of the Snow White and Sleeping Beauty fairy tales. Snow White has defeated the evil queen and now is in the middle of preparations to marry her prince charming. What every fairy tale princess wants right? Not so much in the case of Snow White. She yearns for something more to satisfy her need for independence and her thirst for adventure. Cue in her trusty friends, the dwarfs, that tell her of a mysterious sleeping spell that has taken over the neighboring kingdom. Concerned that the spell sweeping through the lands is headed in the direction of her own kingdom, the new queen rides off on her horse to defeat whoever cast the spell and save both kingdoms.
I loved Gaiman’s feminist twist on these classic fairy tales. The new queen, Snow White is not happy about having to get married and have children. She is only doing so because she feels it is her duty to her people. She resents that she will have to hand her kingdom over to her future husband, because as a woman it is her duty to provide her people with a good king and an heir to the throne. The young queen also yearns for adventure and independence. When trouble is said to be near her lands the white knight that saves the day isn’t some charming prince but the new queen herself.
The illustrations in this short story are absolutely beautiful. I admit they are the main reason I picked the book up off the shelf at the library. The illustrations are done in black and white with gold leaf accents which give a bit of a magical feel to Gaiman’s modern fairy tale.
Overall, I loved this mash up of the Snow White and Sleeping Beauty fairy tales. It’s dark and twisty and Gaiman gives it a modern update that is empowering to women. I’m not sure where some people interpreted this as a retelling for the LGBTQIA community. It is not, which you will find out once you read it. It is short, but packed with adventure. I would recommend this to anyone that likes modern fairy tales.