Title: The Sleeper And The Spindle
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Genre: Fairy Tale, Re-Telling, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury (23rd October 2014)
IT WAS THE CLOSEST KINGDOM TO THE QUEEN’S, AS THE CROW FLIES, BUT NOT EVEN CROWS FLEW IT.
You may think you know this story. There’s a young queen, about to be married. There are some good, brave, hardy dwarfs; a castle, shrouded in thorns; and a princess, cursed by a witch, so rumour has it, to sleep forever.
But no one is waiting for a noble prince to appear on his trusty steed here. This fairy tale is spun with a thread of dark magic, which twists and turns and glints and shines. A queen might just prove herself a hero, if a princess needs rescuing . . .
Rating: **** (4 stars)
THE SLEEPER AND THE SPINDLE is a beautifully illustrated adaptation of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. It combines the talents of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell to create a haunting and beautiful world and story, with Riddell’s illustrations adding an extra dimension to Gaiman’s words. Together, Gaiman and Riddle create a rich and enchanting fairy tale. Beware, there’s no Disneyfication here!
The story of THE SLEEPER AND THE SPINDLE first appears in the short story collection RAGS & BONES: NEW TWISTS ON TIMELESS TALES (review), which I did not realise until after I had read this book. However, that addition of the story lacks the wonderful illustrations by Chris Riddell and is just Gaiman’s words – but if you are looking for more fairy tale re-tellings then you should definitely check it out.
THE SLEEPER AND THE SPINDLE is a reworking of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. Gaiman tells the story of a young queen who is about to get married and three dwarfs who come across spreading magic which causes people to fall asleep where they stand. I really enjoyed reading Gaiman’s adaptation of the fairy tale; the fact that the story was at once both familiar and alien. I also really enjoyed the fact that Gaiman took a story that most of us know because of the Disney film, and reimagined it closer to how the original fairy tale would have been – dark and mysterious.
Chris Riddell’s illustrations really bring Neil Gaiman’s words to life. The black and white images with gold highlights really helped to create the dark and mysterious tone of the story. I really liked the fact that Riddell’s illustrations varied in size from a double page spread to a column down the side of a page of text.
If you are a fan of fairy tale re-tellings then I highly recommend that you give his book a try. If you are a fan of Neil Gaiman, then you should definitely check this book out. THE SLEEPER AND THE SPINDLE is Gaiman at his imaginative best. If you have tried his SANDMAN series then I highly recommend that you give this book a go.