10 October, 2017

[Review] Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

Series: Dividing Eden (#1)
Release Date: 11 April, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Fairy Tales & Folklore/Family
ISBN:  9780062440877
Edition: Audiobook
Rating: ★☆☆
Review Written: 31 August, 2017 
Summary: 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 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, a Faerie Queen who is preparing for war, a strange and enchanting dream realm—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, Spindle Fire is a tour-de-force fantasy set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines.

See more at HarperCollins's website.

Fairytale retellings are something I truly love. I tend to read a lot of them covering stories like Beauty and the Beast (Beauty by Robin McKinley is perhaps my favorite retelling) and Cinderella (Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a decent retelling). That said, I was truly hoping that perhaps Spindle Fire would be a good favorite for a retelling of Sleeping Beauty though I must say I was let down by the half-finished feeling I was left with when the book finished.

Spindle Fire had the promise of being a good book, the ideas were there and the plot was a good one to start with. That said, though I tried to love this book, I found myself half-heartedly listening at time since Isby tended to be daft and too stubborn for her own good at times. She’s grown-up without her sense of sight since her father and stepmother allowed a faerie to take it as payment for protecting Aurora from complete destruction by Malfleur’s curse that she’d touch a spinning wheel and die upon her 17th birthday. This apparently lack of sight had rarely hindered her however, as the book describes several times how she and Aurora (who was struck mute and cannot feel anything) spent time building snow images of various people and animals.

Though I enjoyed the idea of the book, it was a difficult thing to listen to. The chapters flip flopped between Aurora and Isabelle, while throwing in occasional non-sequential chapters of characters like Malfleur or other faeries. There was even one randomly tossed in chapter about Isabelle’s best friend and first love interest, Gilbert, though it comes after he’s been captured by Malfleur and pressed into service as an engineer for her. The strange, third-person writing and the constant use of “Aurora” or “Isby” when starting sentences became quite tedious so the book, while interesting began to drag along instead of being a pleasure to read.

The storyline was a decent idea, following the parallel between Aurora/Isabelle and Malfleur/Balcoeur. It highlighted the importance of sibling love over romantic love, which is a good message when handled correctly. It also features Aurora breaking herself out of the dream world of Balcoeur, which is a refreshing change of a Princess saving herself instead of needing ‘true love’s kiss’. Though to be fair, it could be argued that Isby’s kiss to Aurora’s forehead could have counted as that since it was hinted multiple times that the love between the sisters was of the ‘purest’ sort. The book drops the ball with any sort of resolution since it ends right after Aurora wakes up determined to help her country before Malfleur can completely invade and take back her childhood home.

Although hesitant, I suppose I’ll probably borrow the second book in the Duology, Winter Glass, when it releases in April 2018. I hope that perhaps it’ll provide some much-needed closure and answers to questions left unanswered in Spindle Fire.

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