Book Review: Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

Book Review: Spindle Fire (Spindle Fire #1) by Lexa Hillyer

Rating: 5 Stars

Published April 11th 2017 by HarperCollins
Summary:  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.
(from Goodreads)

Review: This is a lovely fairy tale fantasy romance and adventure. I appreciate the nods to the original Sleeping Beauty story as well as the Disney version.

I had some confusion while reading this because I just finished An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (see my review here) featuring a heroine named Isobel, and then Spindle Fire’s main characters are Princess Aurora and her half sister, Isabelle. I’m also reading a Regency romance called The Wicked Heir by Elizabeth Michels where the heroine’s name is (did you guess it?) Isabelle. So many Isabelle/Isobels!!

Spindle Fire is told in the present tense and focuses each chapter on a different character, typically either Aurora or Isabelle but also sometimes also one one of the various fairies that play a role in the overarching plot. It’s interesting because once Aurora and Isabelle go their own ways, each learns elements important to the overall storyline that the reader is able to piece together an understanding of the big picture, but Isabelle and Aurora are often given a puzzle piece that fits into her sister’s picture, rather than her own. It adds a depth of intrigue to the story that’s really interesting.

The rules that govern the behavior and magic of the fairies are great. The tithe paid in exchange for a gift bestowed really fits with the fairy compulsion for a trade or exchange – nothing is given or taken for free, it’s always a trade. True, it’s not always a good or fair trade, and tricksy fairies will twist things and trick you if given half a chance… But it makes sense that they don’t just bestow blessings all willy-nilly like in the Disney movie.

I don’t want to say too much about the actual plot because there are some twists and turns (some that I saw coming, and some I didn’t) and I don’t want to ruin it. Suffice it to say that both women get their romance on in ways that made me giggle with glee. Also, prepare for some second-lead syndrome (Korean Drama fans know what I’m talking about!)

I listened to the audiobook version of Spindle Fire on Audible. Fiona Hardingham does a great job narrating a very broad cast of characters. I especially love her interpretation of several of the animal voices – a certain white panther in particular. I also love her accent and wonder if this is her normal accent, and if so where on earth is she from that people sound like the Wildlings from Game of Thrones? I will definitely be pre-ordering the next book from Audible, and have my fingers crossed that Fiona is the narrator for that one as well.

Now my only question is: Is it April 2018 yet? Because I need the next book!! Which is titled Winter Fire, in case you were curious.

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