Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Sleeper and the Spindle, by Neil Gaiman

Once upon a time, a magical sleeping sickness began to spread across the land. Foregoing her impending nuptials to a man she did not love, an unnamed Queen (who had overcome her own sleeping curse and was therefore immune to all magical sleeps) set out with three dwarf companions to attempt to break the curse and free the peoples of the land from their enchanted slumber.

Once upon a time a witch cursed a princess to prick her finger and sleep forever. A well-meaning fairy attempted to adjust the curse so the princess could be awakened by a kiss, but the witch intervened at the last moment and did something no one ever expected. Not even the princess herself. Now a lovely maiden sleeps--and the sleep spreads across the miles. The only one awake is an ancient crone who keeps watch. And the Queen and dwarves are awake too, of course.

No spoilers, but the ending will definitely surprise you.

Grand Master of Fantasy Neil Gaiman takes the time-honored tale of Sleeping Beauty and puts an entirely new twist on it with The Sleeper and the Spindle. Black and white illustrations by Chris Riddle enhance this lovely and incredibly creative retelling. Originally appearing in the short story collection Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales (2013), The Sleeper and the Spindle is now its own separate volume, which can currently be found on the New Book shelf.

The Verdict:
Slightly dark (but, really, what fairy tale isn't that way?), but absolutely gorgeous! Fans of Gaiman's work (and fans of fairy tale retellings in general) won't want to miss this! A masterpiece! --AJB

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