You will be so proud of me! I finally finished one of the many books I’m reading! I feel so accomplished. And then I look at my TBR pile and want to cry but whatever. We have to celebrate the small victories.
I finished the books Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer. And I have mixed feelings. Parts of the book were amazing and then there were some things that really bothered me, so I’ll give you my thoughts and then you will have to decide for yourself. Fair warning, there will be spoilers in the following post.
Things I Loved!
1. The books is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty and it’s so much more than just a girl who falls asleep and then gets saved by her prince. It’s a book about two sisters and about how these girls discover who they are.
2. Aurora is the first sister and true Princess. Aurora is my girl. She’s a total book nerd and dreams of her prince charming. She’s also exceptionally naive, which I totally relate to, because I was a sheltered child who thought stupid was a swear word. She’s the girl that falls into an enchanted sleep, but she’s also the girl that the faeries tithe away her ability to speak and touch. Now this was fascinating to me because when Aurora falls asleep she finds herself in a dream world and discovers she has a voice and sense of touch. Aurora can finally speak up for herself and experience human connection in a way that she never has before. Her new found abilities empower her to save her new friends from the terrifying Night Faerie and to experience love in a way she never thought she would.
2. Isabelle is the second sister and also the bastard daughter of the king. She was tithed her vision to save Aurora from dying from the evil Queen’s curse. I think is a very interesting way to point out handicaps women are forced to endure. This girl can’t even see her own face and as a result is blinded to her own self worth and power. William, a prince, believes that Isabelle can lead her people to victory and a new way of life, but because of her blindness Isabelle doubts that she could ever be of any importance to her people. She can’t see that she is the one that they desperately need. How often are women today forced to endure blindness to what they are capable of? We are told that we aren’t strong enough, pretty enough, thin enough, and because of the what people tell us we are blinded to our own potential.
3. I love the Fae! Ok they are self-absorbed and psychotic, buuuut they are way cooler than the Disneyfied version of faeries. They are given the ability to take what they truly want from humans and that is creepy and intriguing. They tithe beauty, youth, touch, sight, dreams ect. and the result is that they are obsessed with their one thing instead of making a difference in the world around them. What sort of people would we be if we were allowed to take that one thing that we always wanted? Would we be kind and considerate or would we be selfish like the Fae?
Stuff I really didn’t like
1. Heath and Aurora’s relationship. Heath is almost violent with Aurora, and this violence is sexualized and painted as desirable. The entire novel I find myself wanting the two of them to get together, when in reality, he’s a jerk and Aurora deserves so much better. But because she has been so long without affection and companionship she is captivated by the attention that he gives her.
2. William’s insistence that Isabelle has to marry him. He doesn’t give her any other option. When come on, William? If she’s so tough and great like you say then why can’t she make a deal with you that doesn’t involve forfeiting all property/ruling rights? Needless to say I’m a bit perturbed. Isabelle is in love with Gilbert, who is the biggest cinnamon roll in the world and he doesn’t even stop to ask if there is anyone in her life and why wouldn’t she want to marry him. He just assumes. Also his suggestion basically implies that he doesn’t think that Aurora is worth saving, even thought that is the most important thing to Isabelle. He only cares about his needs and wants, which I’ll admit must be really hard to juggle as a rising monarch, but still I’m not a fan.
3. The tense of the book. It’s written as if everything is happening and the person who is narrating (which changes) is describing what they see, so present tense, but it feels a disruptive. It’s not fluid. Rather than helping me to sink into the story and enjoy being with the characters I’m constantly being jerked out of it to wonder if that is the correct tense of that word. Now maybe I lack experience in other tenses of writing/reading, but this didn’t sit quite right with me. It is most likely just a personal quirk, but it did bother me. So deal with it.
4. The ending. Ok huge spoiler! But the ending is a cliffhanger and it sucks! Nothing is resolved and what am I supposed to do until book two comes out? I am wallowing in sorrow. Ok not really, but I am upset. Give me a little closure before you yank my heart out and rip it in two! However, I will say it is effective, because despite some issues with the book I will for sure read book two to find out what happens to Aurora and Isabelle.
I really loved this book! There are parts of it that bothered me and that I wish were different, but there are also some core elements that I applaud! For instance, the feminist discussion of a woman’s voice, touch, and sight and how empowered we can become with these things. I am not super excited about the romantic aspects of this book as they felt forced and even violent in moments, but despite that I would say that it is a wonderful retelling of Sleeping Beauty and I highly recommend it if you like dark creepy faeries.
Hillyer, L. (2018). Spindle Fire. S.l.: Harpercollins.
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