The Sleeper and the Spindle – Mini Review


The Sleeper and the Spindle
By Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Chris Riddell
Publisher: Harper Collins
Kindle Edition
Pages: 72
Genre: Retelling/Fantasy

Book Blurb: 

It was the closest kingdom to the queen’s, as the crow flies, but not even the crows flew it.

You may think you know this story. There’s a young queen, about to be married. There are some good, brave, hardy dwarfs; a castle, shrouded in thorns; and a princess, cursed by a witch, so rumor has it, to sleep forever.

But no one is waiting for a noble prince to appear on his trusty steed here. This fairy tale is spun with a thread of dark magic, which twists and turns and glints and shines. A queen might just prove herself a hero, if a princess needs rescuing. . . .


I have to be honest, I picked this up after a brief conversation with Lilly @LairofBooks regarding “uncle” Gaiman (quoting Lilly verbatim) and his fabulous storytelling abilities. Hand me a nice helping of Gaiman accompanied with worthy illustration, and I am so very sold. Money jumps right out of my pockets!

The Sleeper and the Spindle also happens to fall into one of my very favorite genres, retellings. And when it comes to Gaiman, he can tell it, retell it, spin it, you name it! At nearly 72 pages, this was about a 30 minute read. I would not have complained had it lasted longer 😉 But how often do we truly pick up a Gaiman title and not want more in the end?

So how do I review such a short story? Well the easy part is that I have no legit complaints. So we can omit those. I am simply going to highlight what I enjoyed about this charming fairy tale.


  • There was no romance – You read that correct, and I am thankful for it. It is refreshing to be reminded that not all fantasy has to include a love story. The magic is not lost simply because there is no element of love. No where under the definition of fairytale or fantasy does it specify that there must be romance!
So do not be fooled by this image.
  • The pace was fast and entertaining – I am absolutely thrilled when a short story is worth more than its weight, reminding us that even the smallest of tales can be rewarding. Too often, I feel that short stories and novellas are overlooked under the assumption that they lack depth or content. Sometimes, a nice read to fit perfectly with that morning coffee or our lunch break is not to be under appreciated.
  • This is actually a play on two fairy tales – We quickly discover that our queen also happens to be a familiar heroine. She is none other than Snow White.  This was my first experience in a “book” where there is an actual crossover, and I enjoyed it. Of course, I watch Once Upon a Time.
  • The illustrations – Nothing compliments and completes a solid short story better than beautiful images, and Chris Riddell does not disappoint. His work is the perfect addition to a fantastic tale.

An interesting and slightly dark twist on a Sleeping Beauty, makes The Sleeper and the Spindle a worthy addition to any fantasy or fairytale collection. I will be looking to pick this up in physical format, as I feel the illustrations alone make it a necessity for my bookshelf.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Purchase The Sleeper and the Spindle
 Barnes & Noble

56 thoughts on “The Sleeper and the Spindle – Mini Review

  1. I really liked the way he kept the traditional elements of fairytales — an evil spell, a quest to correct injustice, a rescue needing to be made — and flipped it so that the princess went on the quest and did the rescuing and was the hero.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No romance? For this reason only, this book deserves a medal. I was surprised to learn it was so short. I admit I’m leery of short stories and novellas for the reasons you mentioned, but sometimes magic does not need a thousand pages. Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha, I had to blink twice thinking you’ve finished a massive book in one evening :’). Didn’t know it was only 72 pages, though! And no romance, THANK THE LORD!!! 😉 What’s up with the lesbian illustration of Snow White and then hmm? Is she performing CPR? *strokes moustache again*. Interesting…Muchos bonus points for the Chris Riddell illustrations. I’ve got a Gaiman-Riddell boxed set here which I can only look at admiringly. Oh Neil Gaiman ❤ I could write poetry for thee in honour of your awesomeness. So erm, yes, this review certainly has my approval! 😉 Did I already mention I love the illustrations you added to it?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OOh, and you’ve been fiddling around with your settings already! 😀 I have to admit that having the darker purple background makes it easier for me to read the text. But that’s just my silly brain ;).

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Haha, YES! I did a giveaway for it last year but since hardly anyone was genuinely interested in it back then, I figured I wouldn’t pick the exact same prize this year XD. It has The Graveyard Book, Coraline, and Fortunately, the Milk in it 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Another great review Danielle. I’m glad you’re enjoying the retellings so much 🙂
    Neil Gaiman is one author I still haven’t got around to reading even though Anne definitely has highlighted his works… *shame on me*
    You watch Once Upon a Time eh? I saw some episodes as well… but I watched it at the same time as … what was it called… “Reign” at the same time and “Reign”‘s drama outweighed OUAT slightly… I do like they have all fairy tale characters coming together in it though! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, Reign is on Netflix … I watched two seasons but couldn’t be bothered to wait for the 3rd so I cancelled my Netflix subs because other than Reign I didn’t really watch anything else on it… so now I don’t know how it continues… oh well, win some lose some! 😀

        Yep… doing my walk of shame… 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Fabulous review!!! (btw totally loving your new color scheme for the blog lol)
    I have yet to read a Neil Gaiman book, I know I know what a shame. I did however purchase Coraline so I’m excited for that one.
    This one sounds fantastic though! Sleeping beauty and Snow White wrapped into a short story together?? I NEED IT! I also agree that not all fantasy books need romance, I have read some amazing books that did not have romance.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I keep seeing so much about Neil Gaiman lately that it’s making me want to go pick up a book by him. And those illustrations! I’m a sucker for a good retelling and beautiful illustrations. I might have to read this myself at some point. Great review! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have not gotten to any Gaiman yet. I have Coraline, and The Ocean At the End Of the Lane, two short story collectiona, and an audiobook of Neverwhere, so shame on me! Is this ebook a cheap price? If it is I might scoop it up and read it this weekend. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not sure sbout pricing right now, as mine was a loan. However, I think there are links at the bottom. You might click those and then switch to ebook to check 😉 Gaiman is great! I love Neverwhere. Although I heard more than once, the audiobook fails to do it justice. Can neither confirm or deny though. Sorry.


  8. Uncle Gaiman strikes again! I had no idea that this fantasy re-telling is a crossover of 2 fairy tales *GASPSSS* two of my favorites at that *me wants* I’ve seen this book on the shelves at B&N, it is truly stunning. I always get his audiobooks but this is one that I’d like to own. Hi Hip Hooray for the NO ROMANCE part 🙂

    GREAT review Danielle, I’m glad I could encourage the reading of Uncle Gaiman’s amazing books haha!

    Liked by 1 person

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