A Spindle Splintered
Author: Alix E. Harrow
Publisher: Tor.com (October 5, 2021)
Hardcover, 128 pages
Fantasy, Retellings (Sleeping Beauty)
It’s Zinnia Gray’s twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it’s the last birthday she’ll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no one has lived past twenty-one.
Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia’s last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.
Zinnia Gray will tell you that romantic girls love Beauty and the Beast, basic girls love Cinderella, goth girls love Snow White, but only dying girls love Sleeping Beauty. And as a dying girl herself, she should know.
A Spindle Splintered is a portal fantasy fairy tale retelling about the Sleeping Beauty story playing out across the multi-verse. At just over 100 pages, this novella provides some thought provoking feminist viewpoints into one of the least feminist of the popular fairy tales. I liked several of the scenes in this book, but there were also a few places where it got very… I’m trying to find a word for “we sat around smoking too much weed and got very introspective and deep and all up in our feels about Big Thoughts” feeling. Is there a word for that? Because there was a little bit of that, and also a few places where the story dragged a bit – which in a novella this short there’s just really no time for. Still, there were a lot of fun moments, and some very poignant ones. I’ve got some of Alix E. Harrow’s other books on my TBR, and after reading A Spindle Splintered it was good enough that I still want to read more by this author, but not so amazing that I’m moving the other books to the top of my TBR. This one was pretty solidly middle of the road for me.
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.