Spindled, by E.K. Johnston. First read 22 August 2017. 2.7 // 5 stars.
Okay. So. This book is one that really do have mixed feelings over. On the one hand, it has technical problems and cardboard characters, but on the other, it’s decently written and the world building was really great?? So I really don’t know about this book.
The book is a twist on The Sleeping Beauty, set in this wonderful fantasy world that reminds me a lot of The Arabian Nights. The characters have to go and find the princess to try and break the curse that racks their nation, but they accidentally kidnap her instead. (as you do.) There’s lots of walking, staff fighting, and winding thread.
Reading does require some sort of effort on the part of the reader. I, however, often miss things that might be glaringly obvious to someone else. For example:
I went through over half the book thinking that the main character was a very mature twelve year old. Until he kissed someone who was eighteen. So ummmm yeah??? Definitely not twelve, Em, well done. (I still don’t know exactly how old he is though??? Hopefully eighteen or older though ehehe)
I also went through the entire book not realising that this book is actually a sequel to the first book, A Thousand Nights. That said, it didn’t really matter because apparently Spindle takes place a thousand years after A Thousand Nights. It worked well as a stand alone, I thought.
things I liked:
- world building!! I thought it was reasonably well done – there was a bit of info dropping, but it didn’t feel dry and boring. It could have been done better, perhaps within dialogue, but as it was it worked.
- Writing style!! I am not generally a fan of first person, but this book handled it well (although I still think it would have been better in third person). It used a large vocabulary and had great sentence structure!
- The fairytale atmosphere! The book felt mysterious and thick with culture.
- I loved the idea?? I love reimagined fairytales, and the idea of changing up Sleeping Beauty is one that I can get behind.
- Also I love the cover. This shouldn’t have anything to do with anything, but ssshhhh.
So I loved the book up until the half way point, when it occurred to me that barely any character development had happened?? And these people barely had characters anyway??
And from there, I started to get rather bored.
things I didn’t like:
- There was no character development. Watching characters grow and change is one of my favourite parts about reading – but it was nowhere to be found in this book.
- Also, the characters had cardboard personalities. They did have some small traits, but when you’re writing in first person it’s so important to flesh those out and make them really obvious. And they really weren’t.
- There was no proper climax?? The climax itself was so drawn out that by the time it got there, there just wasn’t any tension anymore.
- Not a lot actually happened. There was more walking and details about how they slept than actual action.
- They didn’t have motivation for leaving to see the princess in the first place?? Like his mother told the main character, whose-name-I-have-forgotten, and his friends to go and seek the princess. But it’s never properly explained whyyyy they had to go, and then the mother isn’t mentioned again.
- (Also I couldn’t work out whether or not the mother was meant to be abusive – but I don’t know, because she disappeared after sending them off on their quest and was barely mentioned again.)
- Basically it got rather dull at times.
So basically this book bored me, and I could find no personalities within the characters, but the world building was great!!
Have you read this book? What do you think?