Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

Fantasy, 432 pages, published in 2000

In a magical country, the baby princess is cursed to prick her finger on a spindle and die on her 21st birthday. She gets taken away by a fairy and is hidden as peasant in plain sight as she grows up in this Sleeping Beauty retelling.

Spoiler Free Review:


It feels like it took absolute eons for me to read this book. I started reading it September, but couldn’t get into the writing style, so I decided to start listening to it in November. The audiobook is only around 12 hours, but it was just so hard for me to pick it up.

This is a very whimsical story, and it definitely didn’t follow the structure I thought it would. There is a ton of information about the world, and I do think it does a great job of portraying the setting, but it was just too much for me personally. It just felt like I was learning so much about the world, but most of it didn’t matter to the plot or the characters.

The plot was very slow going. There was a bit at the beginning and more at the end, but in between, it just felt like nothing happened. The reader gets to spend time with Rosie, the princess, as she is growing up, but it just felt like wasted time to me. I actually liked Rosie quite a bit, but the middle bit still felt like way too much to me.

There are also quite a few parts in the middle that are not in a linear order. I found this super confusing because in one part, Rosie is a teenager, but then you’ll be flashed back to when she was a kid and it was hard to follow when it went back to being about her as a teen. It felt a little like a series of random vignettes about her time growing up.

There is quite a bit of description and a lack of dialogue in this book. Dialogue is almost always my favorite part of books, so it was hard for me to get through a book with so little of it.

Overall, I think this book just was not for me. I can definitely see the appeal and I know the style will work for others. The whimsical feeling was really nice, but that wasn’t enough to compensate for all the other things I didn’t like about it.

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