Isabelle and Aurora are half-sisters, as well as being polar opposites. Isabelle is headstrong, Aurora is demure; Isabelle is blind, while Aurora is mute and has no sense of touch. But in spite of their differences, the two have always shared a close relationship. Until the day that Aurora pricks her finger on the prophesied spindle and falls into the deepest of sleeps, and everything changes. Isabelle journeys across the ocean to hunt down a prince who can awaken her sister with a kiss, while Aurora finds herself awakening in an enchanted world where she must find her way to escape with the help of a handsome hunter. It's not only an attempt to get things back to normal; it's a race against time, as the evil faerie queen threatens to march against their kingdom while everything is in shambles.
Plot? The basic elements of Sleeping Beauty are certainly used in the telling of this tale - the enchanted sleep, the fairy tithes at Aurora's baptism, the ever present spindle. But Hillyer also manages to add elements that make it a story all her own, particularly the choice to make it revolve around two sisters and their separate journeys. The lore is interesting, and I could see the potential for a story that would be, to quote my Goodreads review, "magical and whimsical and truly impressive". But it fell short of that potential, and you'll find out why I think so shortly.
Characters? Truth be told, I didn't find myself personally invested in either Isabelle or Aurora, though I was rooting for both of them to find success with their individual goals. I appreciated seeing Aurora go from being the sheltered princess to someone who was ready and willing to work towards the escape she so dearly wanted, and to help the people she meets along the way. And I enjoyed seeing Isabelle maintain her headstrong independence and courage, in spite of all the hardship she faced along the way. So, while I didn't necessarily fall in love with either one, I thought they were pretty decent characters to read about.
Writing? Here, my friends, is where my reservations lie. I just didn't gel well with the way that Hillyer executed the story. I was particularly bothered by the confusing exposition, the offbeat pacing, and the way everything ended abruptly. Again, the potential for a good story was absolutely present within the pages of this book, but the way it was written was just not my cup of tea.
Overall? It's a quick read, and it's definitely a unique take on a Sleeping Beauty retelling. But my reservations regarding the writing are outweighing those things, unfortunately, and so, this isn't a novel that I could easily recommend to other readers.
Who is your favorite female fairy? I thought of quite a few answers for this question, but I decided to go with Maleficent. She was the first to pop into my head! Yes, I am well aware she's the 'evil' fairy. Yes, I am well aware she cursed Aurora. But I always found her fascinating, both as a villain and as a character.
Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer | Series: Spindle Fire #1
Publisher: Harper Teen | Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Source: ARC downloaded from Edelweiss (Thank you!)