The Sleeper and the Spindle
by Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Published on October 23rd 2014
by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Genres: Action & Adventure
Amazon | Goodreads
Also by this author: The Graveyard Book
A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.
On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.
Lavishly produced, packed with glorious Chris Riddell illustrations enhanced with metallic ink, this is a spectacular and magical gift.
The Sleeper and the Spindle is my first book by Gaiman and I have to say that it was a bit weird, but I enjoyed it. Is a captivating story of loyalty, strength, cunning and magic.
Even though the characters don’t have names – they are referred to as “the queen”, the tallest dwarf”, “the princes” – it is really easy to tell who the characters are since they come from really well known fairy tales. However, there are not a lot of similarities between their stories. A lot of it feels more realistic and also darker than the pink-colored fairy tales of old. The book is short and it feels like it and besides the ending is a bit abrupt and there is definitely room for more of the story in a future installment (although there’s none planned that I can tell). I’m not sure I can tell you a lot more about the story, it would be very easy to give it away.
One of the elements that I liked the most in The Sleeper and the Spindle is that the queen takes matters into her own hands. She’s not a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued, quite the opposite. She’s the one that rescues, fights, figures out the riddles and conquers evil. I loved it! It sends the right message to young girls. The queen is accompanied in this quest by three dwarfs, who act as escort and counselors.
The illustrations are breathtaking. They are made in black, white and grays, with the addition of gold for emphasis. They add a great dimension to the story and complement everything perfectly.
I think I might venture to read another of Gaiman’s books. What do you suggest?