Published April 11, 2017
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About Spindle Fire
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 her 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–and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.
As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.
Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.
Spindle Fire is the first book in a lush fantasy duology set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines.
Strangely, this is the second book I’ve read lately that’s written in third person point-of-view with present-tense action. I liked the storytelling but the verb tense didn’t seem to fit as well as in Defy the Stars.
The characters were a huge win. I can’t think of a single character I didn’t like—even including the villains. I will keep on rooting for Gil because he’s awesome. I loved the scenes from his perspective, and his descriptions of how Isabella interacted with him were so deep and emotive.
As far as plot, I wasn’t sure what to expect before I started reading. I knew it had elements from Alice in Wonderland and Sleeping Beauty but was having a hard time seeing exactly how those two stories would stack together well. I thought the mash-up was a success. The villain(s) reminded me of both stories, and Aurora’s journey definitely reminded me of the 2010 film version of Alice in Wonderland in the way she had to find her true self through the adventure in the Borderlands.
This has a bit of a darker edge to it than some other fairytale-inspired stories, but I liked it a lot. I think fans of Forbidden Wish or The School for Good and Evil will find Spindle Fire to be a worthy addition to the genre. I’m so glad I had a chance to read it and can’t wait to read the sequel and find out how the rest of the story ends.
Both princesses have fair skin. One reference says the Aubin prince has darker skin.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.
A few kisses between a boy and girl. In one scene it’s unclear what happens, if anything, beyond kissing.
One of the faeries tithes (collects) sense of touch. She is rumored to have many lovers, both men and women. Another of the fae remembers playing a card game involving stripping with this faerie who happily gave up most of her clothing. It’s kind of a brief in-passing sort of comment.
A prince and princess take refuge in a convent. They make a disparaging comment about the god the nuns serve. The nuns rebuke them. At one point Isabella wishes to pray and realizes she doesn’t know how. She admires the nuns for their courage and care for young orphaned girls, who are not especially valued in her culture.
The fae (fairies) tithe an ability from someone in exchange for what the person wants. For instance one might take luck from someone in exchange for information.
The princesses learn of a rumor about two sister fae who fought until one killed the other.
In the Borderlands, a magical place, illusions which might look like innocent children lead naïve travelers to their deaths.
A few brief battles with soldiers and fae opponents. The crew of a whaling ship attempt to kill a narwhal.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
About Lexa Hillyer
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Lexa Hillyer is the co-founder of Paper Lantern Lit, former YA editor, and author of Proof of Forever. Lexa is also an award-winning poet: Her first collection, Acquainted with the Cold, won the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize as well as the 2012 Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Reviews. Her poetry has been anthologized in Best New Poets 2012, and has appeared in several journals. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their daughter.
Visit the other stops on the Spindle Fire tour!
4/3: Lost In Lit – Bookish Inspirations
4/4: Ex Libris – Review
4/5: The Irish Banana Review – Makeup Inspirations
4/6: Reads All the Books – Review
4/7: In Wonderland – Guest Post
4/10: Book Scents – Review
4/11: The Fake Steph – Q&A
4/12: Swoony Boys Podcast – Review
4/13: The Bookkeeper’s Secret – Mood Board
4/14: The Story Sanctuary – Review – you are here!
Enter the Giveaway for a Chance to Win One of Three Copies of Spindle Fire (US only)
Nice! This one hit my radar once I heard it was a fairy tale retelling! Yet I couldn’t help but hesitate as well. It sounds like quite the intriguing story! Nice review!
Thanks! I am so glad I read it. 🙂
Thanks for the giveaway! I’m always a sucker for fairytales.
Me, too! Good luck!
Thanks for the review. I liked how you broke out the potential triggers for some people–the violence, sexual content, and more. I love retellings and this one sounds really exciting.
Thanks, Danielle! I like how you worded that– potential triggers. I’m going to have to steal that label and use it when I describe my blog!