Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle

by Neil Gaiman and Illustrated by Chris Riddell


“If I went there, would I sleep as they did?”
“You slept for a year and then you woke again, none the worse for it. If any of you big people can stay awake it’s you.”
-Page 20

Title: The Sleeper and the Spindle
Author: Neil Gaiman and Illustrated by Chris Riddell
Publisher: Bloomsburry 
Book: Standalone
Genre: Fairytale retelling
Found: my shelf
Rating: 4 Voodoos

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.


There are two things to be reviewing in this, the story and the illustrations. The illustrations were beautiful, sometimes even gothic and so elegant it was fantastic. Even the little page numbers have fancy doodles! Though I was disappointed that the main story seems to be in times new Roman and not the same as all the other font and key phrases. I think that would have added to the atmosphere of the book and I don’t believe that it’s harder to read or anything.

The story was also interesting to read. I loved who the queen was and I loved the twists in this tale! The ending however, was something of a let down. Not for the lack of any perhaps perceived HEA’s, but because even though I’m all for adventures, there IS a time and a place. And when you have other promises or commitments to keep is not the time.
Gender rules seem to have been removed for this book, which is nice. Though there is a line that can take it from clever to ridiculous, I don’t think this book crossed it. Someone needs rescuing and someone needs to do the rescuing. Either position can be filled by either gender and everyone could always do with some help sometime. I do get annoyed at the books that end with something like “So she tanked him but she was an independent woman who didn’t need a man to tell ger what to do so she went off on her own.” because a proper relationship isn’t about one telling the other what to do, it’s a partnership and it’s pretty useful to have someone always watching your back.

I think this is suitable for children of a higher reading level, it’s not gruesome or horrific – certainly not any more so than any of the originals! But as always, if you’re unsure, read it yourself first.

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