Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer
Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer
Series: Spindle Fire
Sale Date: April 11, 2017
Young Adult, Fairy Tales & Folklore
HarperTeen, 368 pages
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
A kingdom burns. A princess sleeps. This is no fairy tale.
It all started with the burning of the spindles.
It all started with a curse…
Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.
And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.
As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.
Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape…or the reason for her to stay.
Spindle Fire is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty that takes readers beyond that fateful moment Aurora pricks her finger on the spindle and into the very heart of the infamous curse.
In this retelling, Aurora has a half-sister named Isbe (Isabelle) and although the story follows the general outline of Sleeping Beauty with Aurora pricking her finger on a spindle, she does not fall only to a deathless sleep, but instead, enters an enchanted dream realm of the Fae.
Spindle Fire also introduces a new wonderful twist to the original fairy tale. Malfleur has a sister named Belcoeur, known as the Night Faerie for her ability to spin dreams, and readers are treated to their backstory, learning more about the origins of the curse, the dream realm, and a bitter feud between the Fae sisters.
The writing in Spindle Fire is really vivid and poetic at times, adding rich details that bring the story and characters to life.
Unfortunately, this also means that the pace was overall leisurely, building eventually to an exciting end. Readers may find it challenging to push through some areas as multiple perspectives and plot threads get tangled up. I almost gave up a time or two during the midway mark but I'm so happy now that I didn't.
One of the most interesting facets to the story is the use of magical tithings in Spindle Fire.
Isbe's sight and Aurora's sense of touch and her voice are both tithed on the same day by Malfleur and without these tithes, our heroines may have seemed anything but special. By adding these tithes, we see them in a whole new light, especially Aurora. There are no sleeping princesses here but rather two fierce and determined heroines - each on her own quest.
"As different as they are . . . Aurora likes to believe that something invisible, something deep inside each of them, is connected, forged from the same fire."
As unique as Night to Day, I loved the strong sense of sistership Aurora and Isbe shared.
Curious and headstrong, Isbe's path was my favorite. Fighting each step of the way in darkness, she does not let the loss of her sight stop her from anything. With her sister stuck in an enchanted sleep, Isbe takes matters into her own hands and sets off on a quest traveling over land and sea, in order to find a way to break her sister's spell. Determined and fierce, readers are going to admire her tenacity.
"Mud. Murk. Dankness and blackness and bog land and fog so thick it entered the folds of the mind. This was Isabelle’s world as a child. Gradually, though, she discovered darkness was not an absence of light but a living thing, an infinitely tangible substance to roll around in and dig into. She began to fall in love with that darkness, exploring its wells of sounds and stirs."
It is within the Fae created dream realm that we really get to know Aurora beyond the familiar sleeping heroine. Sheltered, obedient, and a romantic at heart, Aurora made a strong transformation once entering the dream realm. Touch and voice return with a swift force for Aurora, who must learn to rely on herself for the first time ever.
"Aurora herself is still waiting to be released, in a way. Not from stone, of course, but from the long, silent hours of wondering, trapped in a world where she cannot speak and cannot feel."
The romances were in the background and I liked the build-up of both, especially the surprising direction Isbe's went. I thought the chemistry was definitely more exciting and banter was well done in hers. There are a few twists I did not see that I'm anxious to see where they go.
Overall, Spindle Fire creates a unique take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. The bond between sisters is a strong theme throughout, with Aurora and Isbe's running parallel to Malfleur and Belcoeur's. Determined readers, those who can push through the leisurely pace and multiple perspectives, can see how well these plot twists begin to come together.
As a fan of fairy tales and retellings, I overall enjoyed Spindle Fire and I'm curious enough to want to continue this series. I definitely would like to see where the plot takes Aurora and Isbe.