The Sleeper and the Spindle
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.
This short story by Neil Gaiman is only 66 pages, but it sure packs a punch. Gaiman takes the fairy tale of sleeping beauty and turns it on its head. It is a beautifully story fairy tale with equally beautiful illustrations. I need to take the time to talk about both the story and the illustrations separately, so that’s what I’m going to do.
I really want to be able to sift through Neil Gaiman’s mind just to see what else is in there, and find out where in the world his creative mind and ideas work and come from. The story begins with a queen dreading the idea of marriage, yet is hurdling toward it with nothing to stop her. She decides to go an adventure to save a kingdom when she heard a rumor about a sleeping curse that inflicted the kingdom and is spreading to the lands around it.
As many of you know, I am a sucker for a strong female character. This short story does not disappoint. There are two strong female characters, one that actually takes the place of the prince in the original fairy tale, and I think it makes the story all the more beautiful and satisfying.
The illustrations in the book are fantastic. They are whimsical and, yet, at the same time they are somewhat creepy and haunting. They only enhance the story, and do not take away from it in anyway. They are completely in black and white, which only caused me to want to get creative with them and attempt to color them, but I was so worried about ruining the haunting aspect of the black and white pictures that I didn’t want to attempt it.
I’m not really used to reviewing short stories so this post seems super short, but I don’t want to give anything away because it is a beautiful retelling of this classic fairytale, and the illustrations fit the story so well that you just need to see it and read it for yourselves. If you hadn’t guessed it yet, this short story by Neil Gaiman gets an A. See you all next time.