The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Friday 10 June 2016

The Sleeper and the Spindle
Neil Gaiman
Genre(s): Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Published: September 22nd 2015
Pages: 69
Rating: 3 stars

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…

There's no denying that this is a gorgeous book. Chris Riddell's artwork is the perfect mix of classically elegant and gothically creepy, providing a perfect accompaniment to Gaiman's prose, which (as always) was whimsical and confusing.

While the idea of blending Sleeping Beauty and Snow White into one, more modern, fairy tale is intriguing and innovative, I couldn't help but feel that The Sleeper and the Spindle fell a bit flat.

For the most part, I'm putting this down to my inability to fully appreciate and understand Gaiman's work. This is the third book by him that I've tried and I'm still floundering. Yes, he can create magical stories, I'm not saying he can't. What I am saying is that they go straight over my head. They jump from place to place, leaving me stranded somewhere in between, desperately trying to gather my bearings. Not what you'd call a relaxing reading experience.

The saving grace truly is the artwork; I couldn't give this a low rating because the black, white, and gold illustrations are captivating and carried the story for me.

A fantastic idea, just not done by the right person. For me, at least.

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