This is an exceptional retelling of "The Sleeping Beauty" which takes the reader into a magical world filled with modern characters, encountering adventure, love and loss. Rosie is very, very ordinary. No-one, not even an extremely powerful and evil fairy who is out for the princess' blood, would give Rosie a second glance. But then, even Rosie ...
This is an exceptional retelling of "The Sleeping Beauty" which takes the reader into a magical world filled with modern characters, encountering adventure, love and loss. Rosie is very, very ordinary. No-one, not even an extremely powerful and evil fairy who is out for the princess' blood, would give Rosie a second glance. But then, even Rosie doesn't know the secret of her own birth...and she cannot be hidden forever as her twenty-first birthday approaches. The curse placed on her at her christening will hunt her down through the years, gathering strength, and at some point a princess must become a queen, even if she would rather just stay ordinary.
I have to admit, Robin McKinley's retelling of the story of Sleeping Beauty was a book I had trouble making sense of as a child. It just didn't fit with the way I felt the story should go. Now that I am an adult, however, I finally appreciate McKinley's deft handling of possibly the most passive princess in all of fairy tale literature. Spindle's End sets this familiar story in a land steeped with magic--so steeped, in fact, that the folk who live there must descale their teapots of magic encrustation so that it will continue to pour tea, and not, say, spiders. Magic is everywhere, and the people deal with it on a daily basis. Either they are fairies and they handle the odd magics themselves, or they hire a fairy to keep things from running amok. Being an avid reader of fantasy novels, I have read many, many books dealing with magic, and this book handles it in a wonderfully logical way. In Spindle's End, magic is a practical, mundane part of life. While the novel's characters recognize it's power, they also are completely accustomed to its effects. This interesting setting informs the tone of the whole story. Rather than talking further about the plot, I will just say that this novel is worth reading merely for the unique experience of this magically drenched setting full of its utterly practical people, of whom our cursed princess is one.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-03-27 With a protagonist known mostly for being gorgeous and drowsy, Sleeping Beauty may seem an odd choice for a retelling by the author responsible for inventing the staunch, action-oriented heroines of Beauty and The Hero and the Crown. But as Newbery-medalist McKinley embroiders and expands upon this tale, readers quickly will see that she has created a character (indeed, a cast of characters) worthy of these fictional predecessors. When the evil fairy Pernicia lays her seemingly fatal curse upon the infant princess, the royal child's nanny entrusts the baby to Katriona--an orphan brought up by her powerful fairy aunt--to rear in the safety of her distant, cloistered village. In one of the many sequences that endow this novel with mythic grandeur, Katriona and her charge travel surreptitiously through the fields and woods, while the female animals of the countryside (vixens, a she-bear and countless others) suckle the royal baby to keep her alive. This unorthodox diet may be the reason the princess--whom Katriona and her aunt call Rosie--can communicate with all creatures. Unaware of her royal heritage (and bored by fairy-tale fripperies), Rosie makes a best friend of Peony, the wainwright's niece, and becomes an apprentice to Narl, the kind but uncommunicative village blacksmith. When the princess's true identity is finally revealed, and the fate of the realm hangs in the balance, Rosie, Narl and Peony fight a true battle royal to defeat Pernicia's schemes. Dense with magical detail and all-too-human feeling, this luscious, lengthy novel is almost impossible to rush through. Additional treats include a vast array of believable, authentically animal-like characters, complete with inventive, evocative names (a cat called Flinx, dogs that answer to Zogdob and Throstle, and so forth). By the end of this journey through Rosie and Katriona's enchanted land--so thick with magic dust that good housekeeping remains a constant challenge--readers will feel that they know it as well as their own backyards. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2002-05-20 Newbery Medalist McKinley embroiders and expands upon the tale of Sleeping Beauty, and creates a cast of action-oriented heroines. In a boxed review, PW said, "Dense with magical detail and all-too-human feeling, this luscious, lengthy novel is almost impossible to rush through." Ages 12-up. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Alibris, the Alibris logo, and Alibris.com are registered trademarks of Alibris, Inc.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.