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BOOK REVIEW: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Chris Riddell

| 31 October 2014 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Chris Riddell

November 2014,  $19.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell



A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish. 

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

Lavishly produced, packed with glorious Chris Riddell illustrations enhanced with metallic ink, this is a spectacular and magical gift.


Neil Gaiman is an awesome guy. We’ve all seen his speeches, his down to earth tweets, his insightful quotes.

I own four of his novels and a collection of his short stories, but I have yet to read any of them. That’s how sure I’ve always been that I would love his writing, because he’s such an amazing person, and so many of my friends like his work.
So when I saw that this short story was coming out, I figured it was my gateway into finally reading some of his work.

And… I was a little disappointed.

Some of the illustrations were truly gorgeous, but others just didn’t grab me at all.

Fairytales, and fairytales retold are supposed to be short and sweet, lyrical but not purple, punchy… This one had its lyrical moments, gave me a couple of giggles, and had some definite twists on the normal fairytale, but by the time I got to said twists I had already disconnected from the story somewhat. The writing, outside these lyrical moments, didn’t grab me and didn’t evoke any feeling.

I wasn’t pulled in by the story, but about two thirds of the way through it became more interesting, and things started to be revealed as truly “different” from the traditional story.

But the ending was just plain ambiguous. On the last page I felt like I could see the foreshadowing of something more, but in the last six sentences I watched that foreshadowing dissipate, and found myself feeling rather flat.

This was not what I was hoping for in a Neil Gaiman story, certainly not in my first. I will read more of his work because I’ve heard so many good things and I want to like his writing. 

This one just wasn’t a good fit for me.




Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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