- Page Count: 351
- Release Date: April 11, 2017
- Publisher: HarperCollins
- My Rating: 2 stars
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 the first book in a lush fantasy duology set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines.
Ok hear me out because the story idea is absolutely incredible and I was totally expecting to give this 5 stars.
A basic overview of the first 20% —
Aurora is 16 and set to be married to Prince Phillip so she can have power through marriage. She has no sense of touch or voice. Her half sister Isbe is blind, so the two communicate through their own form of listening & sign language in Isbe’s palm.
The fae Malfleur is building up an army in the kingdom of LaMorte after she killed her twin Belcoeur, otherwise known as the Night Faerie.
Isbe runs away after Prince Phillip is killed so she won’t be sent to a convent for the rest of her life (a lot of random things just happen like some checklist). Aurora goes after her and finds a cottage in the woods, pricks her finger on a spinning wheel, and then ends up in some wraith-type borderlands place with a guy named Heath. And Isbe finds out everyone at the palace has some kind of sleeping sickness.
Ok so those bits SOUND like a really awesome plot, right?!? It’s definitely a creative idea with a ton of potential.
But the writing and execution were so painfully bad that I had to call this a DNF. Every other chapter is told through a different character (none of whom were particularly strong), it’s all in a stilted present tense, and it feels like someone is explaining the plot to me rather than there being an actual story. It was just impossible to get into or connect with.
The book felt like it was trying to have a badass YA fantasy plot while still talking down to the reader through characters who were either cliches or overly simplified figures from a children’s story. The worldbuilding was one of the biggest infodumps of choppy facts I’ve ever seen, too. But I still want some of my Goodreads friends to check this out just to have a stronger appreciation for other YA fantasy worlds that work!
I really wanted to find a reason to recommend this story because I ADORE fairy tale retellings and fantasy worlds with strong female MCs, but that’s pretty much what’s saving this from getting 1 star. And the general concept of Isbe’s connection with night & darkness had potential. Otherwise I hope others like this more than I did.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC