Read Spindle's End by Robin McKinley Online


All the creatures of the forest and field and riverbank knew the infant was special. She was the princess, spirited away from the evil fairy Pernicia on her name-day. But the curse was cast: Rosie was fated to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a poisoned sleep-a slumber from which no one would be able to rouse her....

Title : Spindle's End
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780441008650
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 354 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Spindle's End Reviews

  • Renee
    2019-05-21 15:20

    Spindle's End (a retelling of Sleeping Beauty) is odd in a lot of respects, and therefore a lot of people aren't going to like it. To outline these:1. Most of the book is narration. There is very little in the way of dialogue, even when it comes to things that most other authors would have left for characters to say.2. It is hard to say who the main character really is. The person who you would assume to be the central character at the beginning is very peripheral by the end.3. While based on a fairy tale, the resolution of the novel seems to be anything but formulaic. Even by regular fantasy novel standards, a lot of this comes out of left field. 4. It takes a very long time for things to happen (in the sense of action), and when it does you may miss it if you aren't paying attention.5. Random facts about places, people, and customs of the fictional kingdom are dropped in sporadically. This adds a great deal of richness to the book, as well as causing a bit of confusion (some tidbits about customs, for instance, are dropped chapters before they are explained).All of that said, I really liked this book. The narration that makes it so odd is engaging enough to make up for the fact that you can go for pages without a character saying something. The descriptions were some of the best I've read in ages from any genre, and I was so happy that the novel ended in a way you would not guess from the start (one aspect of the ending was a given, but otherwise...completely offside). Overall, I would recommend this to a lot of people...with a big caveat regarding the narration. If you need a lot of things to happen very quickly, and a ton of witty banter from your characters, you may want to skip this one.

  • Moira Russell
    2019-05-03 10:56

    This was a really adorable book, altho I think you have to be in the right mood for it. When I started reading it I bogged down a little in an atmosphere which I found sort of Fucking Twee, and then I went back to it later and found it much easier to get into. I really liked the characterizations of Rosie and Peony, especially how they were both good characters without being wimpy or Mary Sues; and I really liked their friendship -- it's a v Chloe-liked-Olivia kind of book. It was interesting to read how Rosie is defended by the 'ordinary' upbringing she had in the Gig in light of McKinley's later heroine Rae in Sunshine, and that theme of the 'ordinary' girl having strength not despite her rough origins but because of them really goes all the way back to Beauty (my favourite of McKinley's novels and the first book of hers I ever read). I didn't like Narl very much at first and he didn't seem to become a fully realized character almost until the end of the book; Rowland seemed better-written, but he shows up so late and says so little I didn't feel like he had much impact on the story either. But that's perhaps the point: the book isn't about the two love interests, but about the two girls and the question of female identity, how who are you are is shaped by expectations and social roles, and what happens to girls who conform or disobey. (I doubt McKinley would say this -- or even agree with it -- but Rosie is clearly genderqueer to some extent, not just in her short hair and dislike of dresses and dancing and embroidery and so on, but also in her aggression and power and volubility -- at one point she's affectionately referred to as a "thug"! This genderqueering goes on all the way up to the end with the surprise kiss and the use of the, er, spindle.) The book is also just as much about Rosie's relation to the living, teeming natural world, and her 'beast-speech' gift is an example of that connection. I loved how here it's not just the great horses or the sighthounds (the queen, whom I don't think is ever named -- boo -- clearly comes from the country in Deerskin, which I found charming) that are characters in their own right but almost every animal -- the foxes, the mice, Sunflower the slobbery dogge, even the spider. Like the description of the great iron gates Narl makes, the flowers and the land and the animals and the vitality of life running through them all -- Thomas's 'force that through the green fuse drives the flower' -- are all intertwined and related to each other, and the book is also a kind of meditation on kinds of power, and the uses of power.The one thing about the worldbuilding that did put me off to some extent was the magic -- not the endless detailing of the rules in the AU McKinley set up, which felt like it was meant to be charming but was actually tedious in the very beginning (the fish jokes got annoying as the book went on), but more how the big magical moments worked. It felt, like in Deerskin, that there was some kind of very deep almost Jungian symbology going on behind certain events which explained the way things were happening, and I just didn't have the right cipher to crack the code, although possibly this kind of confusion was intentional. This made for scenes which felt almost starkly mythic (Rosie's journey to the castle in the barren lands also reminded me of Rae's long nightmarish walk in Sunshine) in sharp, almost disorienting contrast to the extreme wealth of detail about 'mundane' life. Again, this could be intentional on McKinley's part and reminded me a lot of similar blendings in Peter S. Beagle's books (A Fine and Private Place, The Folk of the Air), except the elements feel better blended in his writing.***I also forgot to add I finally read one of the bits that made me want to read this book -- or rather, someone's description of it, long ago -- a half-sentence-long rewriting of the Orpehus myth (which I'm obsessed with!) into a fable of fidelity in a kind of half-glance that is as much of a rewriting of mythical elements as Rosie's kiss or the spindle. It's a great example of how a tiny detail can be just as important as a big supershiny 'singularity' in terms of writing alternative worlds.

  • Melissa Rudder
    2019-05-23 18:00

    Robin McKinley's young reader retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, Spindle's End, smells good. It's made up of those yellowing pages that you run your fingers down and feel the soft fibers of, and as you thumb through the pages it fans your face with the invigorating smell of book. And that's probably the best part of it.I read Spindle's End because I read McKinley's Beauty in seventh grade and can vaguely remember loving it. I didn't love Spindle's End. I did grow to love some of the characters: the young and heroically responsible Katriona, the quiet and supposedly-mysterious-but-really-rather-transparent and reliable Narl, the beautifully kind and sweet Peony, and the everything-that-she-shouldn't-be Princess, Rosie. The devoted animal friends were rather great too, particularly Fast. Because I cared about some characters, I was, admittedly hooked. But it often felt like it was a chore reading to the book's end, rather than a pleasure.Part of this had to do with McKinley's treatment of magic. McKinley treats magic as a force flowing through her world, which some can sometimes harness the power of, some can sense the presence of, and some can complain about the dust of. (So many clauses ending in prepositions. Ouch. Too lazy to fix it, though.) So during scenes where there are high levels of magic, characters are shrouded in a confusing fog/magic presence that disorients them and disconnects them from the scene. And so is the reader. Then the fog clears and the characters and reader are forced to look over the wreckage and figure out what happened. I know it's unfair of me to compare every young reader or fantasy book to Harry Potter, but here I go. In the Harry Potter series, crazy magical stuff happens--(Spoilers only for books one through four follow) Voldemort and Harry's wands connect strangely, Harry's touch destroys a powerful wizard, a bird cries and fixes everything--but the reader is able to witness these events and understand them through Rowling's carefully constructed magical world. In McKinley's magical world, Rosie had a whim that the gargoyle spindle end would be important and--wow--it was! No one really explains WHY though. I want my magic to work logically. McKinley's doesn't. She doesn't seem to want it to. But I do.McKinley, thank goodness, does rehash the Sleeping Beauty story so that it has stronger female characters. Sleeping Beauty and, for that matter, Snow White are pathetic fairy tales as far as women are concerned. Their heroines are so passive and so dependent on their princes that they spend half of the story asleep, helpless, unable to even make cute outfits for mice, grow their hair out, or scrub the floor. McKinley presents a strong female cast. Our heroine rides off to seek out danger and even domestic Peony is a courageous heroic figure.The plot itself is rather predictable, though often in a pleasant way. It was comfortable knowing more than I should have known, but it also made reading a less suspenseful and emotional experience.I have either The Hero and the Crown or The Blue Sword resting in my library. I'm not sure if I'm going to bother reading it. Spindle's End just wasn't as good as I had hoped.

  • Jared
    2019-05-07 16:23

    Spindle's End is a re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale. I love many of McKinley's other "re-telling" stories, like Beauty and The Outlaws of Sherwood. The first three-quarters of this book are no exception.The characters are engaging. The description of life in the little community where Rose (Sleeping Beauty) grows up is so idyllic that you want the book to keep going just so you can read about the town.Unfortunately, the last quarter almost does the book in. The magic in this book shows no particular rhyme or reason, which makes it harder to suspend disbelief. The magic in the last quarter of the book, surrounding the climax, is thick and plentiful. Since the magic seems to follow no rules, the result is rather like I imagine a bad trip on acid would be. It reminds me rather unfavorably of Alice in Wonderland, a book that I have never managed to get through even half of.Thankfully, the climax of this book is short enough that I could get to the happy ending.

  • Anne
    2019-04-29 12:17

    This could have been an interesting retelling of Sleeping Beauty. McKinley had some good ideas, but the plot rambled along at such a boring pace that it's hard to remember what they were. Long-winded and useless descriptions of every mundane thing you can imagine were a huge part of what bogged the book down. I think if it had been chopped down to 150 or 200 pages, it would have made a pretty decent story. At 400 plus pages? Not so much.I also thought that the fact that her love interest was 20 to 30 years older than her (and had watched her grow up from an infant) was kind of creepy. P.S. Was Narl really the best name she could come up with for the guy? Narl?!

  • Misty
    2019-05-08 14:08

    Those who have struggled with McKinley's writing style and penchant for tangents in the past will probably not get on with this book, but for the most part, I really enjoyed it. It's slow -- as most of her books are -- and occasionally convoluted -- as most of her books are -- but it felt... homey. Cozy.Full review (maybe) to come.

  • Jackie
    2019-05-18 15:22

    A fun, greatly expanded retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with Briar Rose going against stereotype by being a strapping young woman with a love for animals and the outdoors, and no regard for her beautiful blonde hair. I really enjoyed the story until the confrontation with the evil fairy Pernicia. Then Robin pulls her familiar trick of a foggy vague battle and some unexplained magic to get us through to the end. Bad Robin! Oh, well, most readers will forgive her. I, though, choose to dock her a star off my rating for it, and to continue to maintain that The Blue Sword and Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast are Robin's best books.

  • Macha
    2019-04-24 17:54

    this was really disappointing. especially after such a fine beginning, with the imaginative world-building, the detail on just everything gloriously written, and some promising characters. and she's clearly engaged in taking apart the fairy tale to take a close look, something that always gets my vote.unfortunately, it doesn't last. too bad. that whole headlong flight of Katriona's with the baby, and how the animals buy in, it's just lovely; i settled in. but Katriona's issues fade into Rosie's issues, and okay Rosie is a headstrong character that damn well ought to work (in this day and age), so i found that promising too. for a while.but it fell apart. the whole idea of the sentient castle was super-neat. and the merrel was cool, though underdeveloped. ultimately, though, Peony had more gumption, more nuance, and more potential than Rosie: but that's not where the story goes. and i liked the silent fairy smith but really, now, shouldn't Rosie have been rescuing him? what with one thing and another, though, the second half of the book is so draggy it was like plowing through a damnably thick hedge of rose briars to get to the ending. which i had long since figured out anyhow, if suspense was supposed to be a thing. and in the long denouement i realized that way too many of the most potentially interesting characters had just been abandoned along the way.sometimes one has to wonder about the backstory to these things: did the writer lose interest in her characters and story? could she not figure out where to go with it? did her agent/editors make her finish this against her own instincts? the second half really badly undercuts the glories of the first half, in a way that's clearly not intentional. tsk. the whole thing's really too bad.and now i feel like reading another McKillip fairy tale, small and perfect and strange (The Changeling Sea was wonderful). though i also have a whole lot more modern fairy tales piled up, by writers i haven't read yet on the subject. so the little survey continues...

  • Chris
    2019-05-05 10:57

    Very good variant of Rumpelstiltskin, in which a fairy accidentally absconds with the princess after she's cursed. The princess is raised with no idea who she really is. I stayed up too late reading this one. :)

  • Shauna
    2019-05-09 17:14

    There was much I liked about this book, and much I was frustrated with. First I felt it was too long. This is a bad sign. If the book is irresistible, I don't mind if it goes on and on. But this one was tricky, full of rogue magic that changed things willy nilly and was hard to control, characters that likewise changed prominence back and forth throughout the story, endless animal names without helpful reference points (how I am supposed to remember which was a dog, fox, cat, horse, owl, whatever?), and sentences that wander all over the place without necessarily coming back to the point it started out with. That same problem became bigger across pages--one paragraph would start a point, the next would flash back to give some history or missing background info, and at some point the story would revert to the present, but it was not always easy to tell when that happened. Despite these frustrations, I still enjoyed McKinley's imagination, her wonderful created worlds of fantasy, and the fleshing out of the Sleeping Beauty story, though told much differently than you've ever heard it before.

  • Ali
    2019-05-11 19:08

    I grew up reading Robin Mckinley, and periodically like to revisit her works. While Beauty was the first book I read by her (and the first book I reread until the spine wore out), and her Damar books hold a special fascination for me, there is something about Spindle's End that keeps me coming back.Maybe that's because Mckinley is more open with the workings of magic in this world; in other books magic is a furtive, secretive thing, like a wild animal. We get more of fairies and magicians and baby-magic, all the things that make living in Spindle's unnamed kingdom so fascinating to the reader.Then there are the cozy touches, the details that take magic away from the court magicians and majestic evil fairies, and put it by the hearth, in the home, accessible and familiar.The only strange note, for me, is Mckinley's practice of pairing her young heroine with a much older man. She marries her early-twenties female protagonists off to men either naturally or supernaturally of far greater age, consistently enough for me to wonder at the underlying reason for this trope. Memo to self: look up difference in ages between Mckinley and her husband.

  • Becky
    2019-05-02 13:04

    I feel bad giving this book so few stars. But I honestly can't say that I enjoyed it. I actually skipped parts, and the darn thing was only 300 or so pages long.McKinley is a good writer; she produces gorgeous and very funny prose, she's a master worldbuilder, and she creates believable characters and complex plots. I would have happily read the short story version of this novel. But I got bored at about the hundred page mark.The reason I got bored is that this novel began with Rosie's birth (as it had to) and ended with the events surrounding her twenty-first birthday (as it had to). In the meantime, we had to watch Rosie grow up. And it was BORING.It was boring, first of all, because of the style. McKinley *tells* the story rather than shows it, especially in the middle, and she is such a lovely writer that it almost works. Except that all of her pretty words actually form a barrier between us and the characters. Rosie and the others are interesting enough that we really could have fallen in love with them and rooted for them at the end. However, we're told what Rosie is like rather than witnessing what she's like, and as a result reading about her is not very compelling. In addition, whenever McKinley tries to create an emotional response with dramatic language, the subtle beauty of the words falls flat because it comes out of nowhere; all of a sudden this character who we don't really know all that well is having a poetical life-changing moment, and I'm left wondering, why? And so what?Conclusion: Even writers who are super brilliant aren't allowed to break the "show don't tell" rule in long form fiction unless the story demands it. Not the story they think they're telling, the story that they're actually telling.The other problem was that, oh yeah, NOTHING HAPPENED. It was about the characters and not the plot, and these characters were not dynamic enough to carry the story. Of course good characters don't have to be dynamic. In Coraline, the titular character is not, when you stop to think about it, a super dynamic or complex character, but she's believable and likable and as a result we're rooting for her every moment. The difference is that Coraline is always doing something, always in danger. By giving us a long middle in which there's only occasional danger, McKinley put the onus of interest on her characters, and thus fails.I also have found that I generally dislike stories with friendly animal helpers. Did she really expect us to remember all of the names of the different animals? But I can accept that this might just be my problem.I know a lot of people really like Spindle's End, and I do think it had a lot to like (how 'bout that worldbuilding)? I also know that it's often shelved as a children's or YA book (although I got it from the adult's section), so faulting it for a lack of complexity is perhaps not fair. But there are so many children's books that are super enjoyable for adults to read that I'm not going to give this one a pass on that account.Not writing off McKinley entirely - I liked Beauty when I read it in high school! But I think I'll skip ahead a hundred pages in the next thing I read by her, to make sure that abrupt boredom does not ensue.

  • Gloryseeker33
    2019-05-21 16:03

    I have read a number of books by this author and really liked all of them, but this one is a standout for me. It is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, but goes far beyond the limitations of the original tale. The author manages to create a delightful, suspend-disbelief magical kingdom and populates the story with fully rounded characters who are both entertaining and engage the reader's sympathies, along with a plot line that departs from fairy tale formula just enough to keep us guessing the outcome clear to the end. Her independant spirited Beauty manages to foil all the trappings of fairy tale while still eventually finding her own definition of a happy ending. This is a story that embodies the antidote to the current 'princess' obsession among young girls without being cynical or dark in any way. From the first page description of a land so full of magic that teakettles need to be routinely 'de-magicked' by local fairies to keep them from pouring out pansies or toads, the readers interest is caught and held to the end of the book.

  • ambyr
    2019-05-24 18:06

    A warm, fluffy blanket of a book in which the tiny bit of conflict seems almost superfluous. The only surprise was how relentlessly heterosexual it managed to be despite a climax that involves two women kissing each other.

  • Kate
    2019-04-29 11:12

    I can't believe I've not read this since I started using Goodreads!I love this book, it's such a beautiful, gentle story, McKinley at her best. The plot is obviously based around the Sleeping Beauty fairy story, but really, it only starts like it (fairy curses princess to prick her finger on a spindle and die on her 21st birthday). McKinley writes a tale of a no-nonsense girl, Rosie who grows up in a small village, the guardian of two fairies, not knowing that she is the princess. She is the least "princess-like" princess you could possibly imagine, and I love the book because of this. Instead, she spends all her time hanging round the smithy, learning to doctor horses after a childhood where she's grubby a lot of the time with a penchant for falling into bogs! It's a book full of well realised female characters who are full of agency and who ensure that the destiny that Rosie is supposed to follow is not met.Reading this book is like getting a warm hug and I always regret finishing it because it's so utterly lovely.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-23 12:07

    I read Beauty (retelling of Beauty and the Beast) by this author when I was at BYU and really enjoyed it. My friends Robin & Camille lent me this book and The Hero and the Crown (which I will read next).This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It was great! It had a lot of depth and characters in it, plus some fun and sad/happy twists.I love juvenile literature because it avoids the raunchy stuff that most adult literature has. This was not an "easy" read though. It was full of rich language and big words that I didn't know =).

  • Sophie
    2019-04-26 11:07

    This is total comfort reading for me. Like being wrapped in a big fluffy blanket of fairy tales. Fairy tale retellings are the best. All the romance and fantasy with much less of the sexism.The magic in this book is a little woojy, and maybe that was McKinley's intention, but it makes it hard for me to visualize the scenes that are mostly about magic. The setting the rest of the time is wonderful and easy to picture.Evil contains the seeds of its own destruction. Family is less about blood than about love. Fish don't exist.

  • Kat
    2019-05-20 14:59

    This book is an adaptation of the Sleeping Beauty legend. Imagine what would happen to a real girl if she were "blessed" with all of the gifts the fairies could imagine for her, and her gifts actually scared her? It was definitely an intriguing take on the story. As with all stories by McKinley, it made me think.

  • Stellarseas
    2019-05-24 18:22

    Я ожидала, конечно, шо-то необычное в конце, НО ЧТОБ ТАК!

  • Hannah Schuck
    2019-05-10 12:17

    The book was really good.... but the ending kinda made me a bit sad or disappointed I should say. Other then that it was a good book.

  • Jessica
    2019-05-14 17:23

    I have so much to say, and not much of it is good. Let's proceed from that statement, shall we?1. This book is classified as a YA/Teen read. While many teens and young adults could read and even enjoy the novel, I'm surprised that it's not in the adult fiction section of the bookstore. (And by that, I don't mean the romance/erotica- maybe I should just say the fiction section.) Spindle's End is closer to Wicked in terms of length and made-up/fantastical words, so I'm not sure why one is fiction and the other is YA. Both belong on the same bookshelf: fiction.2. Unlike my preferred Sleeping Beauty rewrites (A Kiss In Time, Wide-Awake Princess), this book sets the stage for a well-known classic. In the other novels I mentioned, much of the book deals with the aftermath of either falling asleep or waking up from said sleep. I never gave it much thought before, but the books that deal with the fallout from years of sleep were mroe enjoyable.3. Setting the stage took WAY too long. The first 200-250 pages introduced us to new worlds, characters, relationships and spells. I spent all that time thinking to myself "How is this a retelling of Sleeping Beauty?" The last 100 pages rush through the princess pricking her finger, falling asleep, the prince waking her up, yada yada yada. Not to say it could have been drawn out- by that point, I was so fed up I didn't care if Sleeping Beauty became the Sleeping Dead.To be honest, I hate not finishing books. It's a good thing I feel that way, because there were several times throughout the course of this reading where I seriously just wanted to quit. Having read it all, I question why I kept on.

  • Ali
    2019-05-16 11:13

    This book was alright, and I would probably recommend it to a friend who enjoys this genre as much as I do. My issue with this book is much the same as the one I had with the author's "Rose Daughter". Instead of being a good, old-fashioned retelling and expansion of the Sleeping Beauty story, the author added way too many random magical elements that made it hard to find the actual original story anywhere. The main character, Rosie, is also a very loose translation of the original Briar Rose. She is a tomboy and keeps her beautiful golden hair cut short. She works as a blacksmith and talks to animals. She is not beautiful, but her friend is. And that was the big problem. Her friend ends up being the Sleeping Beauty in the story. Her friend ends up with the prince, not Rosie. Rosie is supposed to be Sleeping Beauty, but in a twist ending, it is transferred to her friend? Which would have been fine if the story was about her friend.I did like the May-December romance between Rosie and the town's blacksmith, but why not just make a book about a tomboy named Rosie who can talk to animals and falls in love with the town's blacksmith? Why make it a reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty story? It did not make sense to me. They should have been two separate stories.

  • Melody
    2019-05-11 16:06

    Hypnotic, tangled and often impenetrable narrative. The briar roses that grow up around the sleepers in this oddly compelling retelling of the Sleeping Beauty legend are a good metaphor for how McKinley's words coil around each other in paths untraceable by me. There are lovely, memorable passages which exist almost independent of the story, one of which I think I'll keep forever. "What you describe is how it happens to everyone: magic does slide through you, and disappear, and come back later looking like something else. And I'm sorry to tell you this, but where your magic lives will always be a great dark space with scraps you fumble for. You must learn to sniff them out in the dark."At the end I'm left with the feeling of having read a lovely fairy tale, most of which was far beyond my ken.

  • Kate
    2019-04-30 14:06

    Considering how much I loved Beauty, I was disappointed with this book. Rosie, Katriona, Aunt, Narl, Peony are all good characters, but I just couldn't get into the story. The pacing was slow, covering 21 years of Rosie's life, most of which nothing happens. Well, what happens is she grows up not knowing she is the princess and makes friends with a lot of people and animals who will be important in the climax. Even so, large chunks of the book could be cut out without the reader missing anything.

  • rivka
    2019-05-01 14:54

    This book has everything that was missing from the same author's Beauty -- not simply a retelling of a classic fairy tale, but a reimagining. The pacing is marvelous, the foreshadowing-without-giving-anything-away spectacular, and the ending brilliant.The backstory of the fairies and the other supporting characters is lovely -- fantastic yet realistic. The depth of characterizations is excellent.Absolutely marvelous!

  • Dea
    2019-04-29 15:53

    Oof, this has to be one of the most boring books I've ever read. (And I have an English degree! I've read so many boring books!) The writing is muddled and unclear, and when I was confused about why something was happening, I didn't know if it was poor writing or because I kept zoning out. (I'm gonna guess it's a bit of both.)It also has a particularly awful ending, so don't bother skimming to read the end. Just quit when you've had enough, like I should have, 250 pages ago.

  • Megan
    2019-05-06 14:21

    I loved this book. Only the odd, disorienting shifts of chronology kept me from giving it five stars. In particular, I love the beast-speech--definitely a gift I'd like to have!--and the complete creation of a believable, realistic, and yet utterly fantastic fantasy world. I love books that make it easy to visualize the story, and I had no trouble at all finding myself in the world of this book.

  • Yehudit
    2019-04-28 18:04

    3.5 stars.

  • Sandie
    2019-04-27 18:01

    Everyone knows the story. A royal couple, after years of longing, have a beautiful baby girl. All their subjects and the fairies and woodland creatures come to celebrate the birth. But one evil fairy, miffed that her invitation didn't come, storms the party and curses the baby to prick her finger and fall asleep forever.In this imaginative retelling, Robin McKinley gives an alternative story. When the evil fairy, Pernicia, casts her spell, a fairy named Katriona is there. She won the lottery in her distant, small village to come to the name day of the new infant. She takes the baby in that moment of the curse and returns with it to her village. The trip takes weeks and the two are helped along their journey by the wild animals they encounter; the female badgers and rabbits and foxes providing the milk a baby must have.The baby, Briar-Rose, is raised by Kat and her mother. They give a story about it being the baby of a distant cousin who needs a home. Rosie grows up in the village with no idea about the royal blood she carries in her veins. Instead, she becomes a horse vet as she has the ability to talk with all the animals she encounters. It's a good life, surrounded by love and joy but has the ruse worked? Will Rosie escape the curse laid on the babe twenty-one years ago?This is a joyful book, full of spells and coincidences that turn out to push the story along. Rosie is no wilting sheltered princess. Instead she is a woman who knows her own mind and knows how to fight when it is needed. Robin McKinley has written several fairy tale retelling novels. She has won the Newberry Award for young adult fiction along with other awards. This book is recommended for fantasy readers.

  • Vivian Chen
    2019-05-03 12:19

    Spindle’s End is a retelling of the classical fairytale “sleeping beauty.” McKinely has taken a very unique perspective of the original story. The King and Queen invites fairies and creatures from all different places, and a fairy, named Katriona, is selected from Foggy Bottom to go to the newly birthed baby’s name day celebration. An old fairy, named Pernicia, had been an old rival of the Queen, but everyone thought have disappeared, so she was not invited to the baby’s name day. In honor of the baby’s 21 names, 21 fairies have been chosen to give the young infant with different gifts. 20 fairies gave her golden hair, singing voices and such, which really angered Katriona, who believed that those would not help the princess in the slightest. Pernicia, angered and offended by the lack of an invitation, gave the princess a gift; that she will prick her finger at the age of 21 and fall into a poisoned sleep. Katriona, had not anticipated, but was given the baby to take, protect, and hide from Pernicia’s wrath for 21 years. She raises Rosie(the princess) with her magically inclined Fairy Aunt for 21 years, watching Rosie grow into more of a tomboy than a traditional princess. In the world of the book, magic is spontaneous and confusing which sort of disorientes the readers from the scene. The book is insubstantial and slow pacing, but provides a very interesting twist from the original fairy tale. Katriona gives her the magical gift of speaking to animals, which leads to her being the village veterinarian(horse leech, in the book). As Rosie grows, she becomes strong minded and more disturbances occur as we draw nearer to her 21st birthday. Her whereabouts finally become known to Pernicia. Rosie becomes friends with an orphan girl, Peony, who posing as the princess, pricks her finger and is taken by Pernicia. Rosie and her friend Narl as well as assorted animals, seek to confront Pernicia in her isolated kingdom. With adventure and strong characters, this twist really pulled the book to a happy closing. I really liked Robin McKinely’s strong female characters, which is a positive twist from the original, in which Sleeping Beauty is submissive and dependant on her prince to save her from a deep sleep throughout the whole book. Otherwise the book was very confusing and the logic behind the magic often carried away from the book and was slow pacing, walking through the 21 years of raising Rosie, which was often uneventful