The Sleeper and The Spindle by Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Published by: Bloomsbury
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon
Fairy tale retellings are one of my favourite genres. Actually, I’d go so far to say they are my favourite genre. So, when I noticed my school library had ‘The Sleeper and The Spindle’, a Sleeping Beauty retelling, illustrated by Chris Riddell (who I’ve loved since ‘Fergus Crane’) I had to drop everything I was reading and start this right away.
Firstly, I think overall this was a very original retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with a bit of Snow White thrown in for good measure. The subtle blend of the fairy tales was lovely and something I wasn’t expecting. I loved the role of the evil enchantress character and thought the plot was very plausible, and pulled off without manipulating the original tale to an extreme.
The artwork was consistently beautiful, I adored the golden accents and the simple strokes of the illustration. Riddell has such a defined style which perfectly paralleled Neil Gaiman’s writing.
Reading this retelling has interested me in picking up more of Gaiman’s works. I’ve only read ‘Stardust’, but know my library has a copy of ‘The Graveyard Book’ too. This tale felt very Grimms’ Brothers-esque because of the dark toned narrative.
For such a short book the characters were so strong and developed. I felt compassionate and empathetic for both the princess and the queen, and continue to love how females are given more of an active role in fairy tales without relying on princes.
A perfect little read. 5 stars.