author: Alix E. Harrow
series: Fractured Fables #1
published: 5 October 2021
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | BookBub | BookHype | Goodreads
It's Zinnia Gray's twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it's the last birthday she'll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no one has lived past twenty-one.
Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia's last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.
This is a fairytale retelling that gets it right! It was a unique blend of Sleeping Beauty and the multiverse, woven together to make a fabulous and inspiring story.
It is a feminist take on the story, creating an interesting twist to a story that, at it’s core, is rife with problems. The entire premise of the Sleeping Beauty story is that a woman can only be saved from the curse of sleep by the kiss, one given without consent, by a man. And that’s just in the Disneyfied version. In the OG versions, Aurora is repeatedly assaulted by the king, giving birth to two children while in her enchanted sleep. But in A Spindle Splintered, the female characters have autonomy and agency over themselves. Even the curse itself has new meaning within the story, which I won’t share for fear of spoilers.
I loved how the threads of Sleeping Beauty played out in this new way, the way the women of this book refused to settle in the ways they were “supposed” to, instead standing up, banding together, and fighting for themselves and others in their position.
And even though the ending wasn’t what my sappy heart had hoped for, it was what was needed for this version. It was the right ending for this story, because life isn’t a fairytale. In many ways, this book is both an homage and a critique of the fairytales I, too, love. Truly amazing!