Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

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Spindle Fire
By Lexa Hillyer
Publisher: Harper Teen
ISBN13: 9780062440877
Pages: 368
Genre: YA Fantasy/Fairy Tale
Synopsis:

A kingdom burns. A princess sleeps. This is no fairy tale.

It all started with the burning of the spindles.

No.

It all started with a curse…

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape…or the reason for her to stay. 


my-thought

“One night reviled, Before break of morn, Amid the roses wild, All tangled in thorns, The shadow and the child Together were born.”

Spindle Fire comes in at an average rating of 3.35 stars on Goodreads.com. This fact , while not terrible, quite honestly breaks my book loving heart a little. I am very biased, as I instantly fell head over hills for this beautiful re-imagining of the classic tale, Sleeping Beauty.  And well, we tend to place the things we love on a pedestal, which is where I feel Spindle Fire deserves to be.

Following two sisters, we are delivered a solid story brimming with fantasy and adventure. Aurora is presented as delicate and gentle, a romantic. Having paid the debt of her sense of touch and voice to the fairies, she is the opposite of her sister Isabelle who is headstrong and outspoken but has also paid her own price; her vision. In spite of their many differences, they share an inseparable bond. So when Aurora falls victim to a sleeping curse and the land is at risk of an invasion by the faerie queen Malfleur, Isbe (Isabelle) immediately sets out on a treacherous journey to save them both. But Aurora must brave her own voyage into the unknown as she awakens in a dark and tormented land.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Spindle Fire is that it is read as two wonderful stories that come together to form one amazing tale. Narrated through alternating point of views, we follow each sister on their personal quest for answers and resolution. For all of their opposite traits, Aurora and Isbe complement one another exquisitely. They have developed a system of communication that allows them to overcome their lack of vision and speech and share an admirable and endearing relationship as sisters. One appears almost fragile, while the other is more daring and rebellious. Yet, we soon discover that they are both equally matched in terms of courage and driven by love and loyalty. Despite all odds, they are willing to sacrifice everything for the chance to be together again and save the land and those they care for. In terms of female protagonists, they the sisters offer a healthy dose of diversity and complexity. If I had one complaint, it would be that I would have liked for the author to explore these elements further. I did manage to find myself adoring them both for a variety of reasons.

The setting and world building are ripe with magic and fantastical elements. Shrouded in a mystifying darkness, it effortlessly met my expectations as far as fairy tales go. Spindle Fire contains the very essence of dreams and nightmares and Hillyer has pulled everything together with what feels like incredible ease, creating something almost familiar but completely original and refreshing.  Add the combined atmospheric facets of Aurora’s story and Isabelle’s high stakes adventure, and it quickly becomes a complete and well-rounded experience that I felt offered many promises and successfully delivered.

With engaging and seamless writing, this is fast paced read. And while there are certainly undertones of a love story occurring within (it is a fairy tale), I appreciated that Hillyer did not allow this to overshadow the real magic and narrative. With a conclusion that was satisfying while still allowing for a smooth segue into a sequel, I am highly anticipating the second book in this duology.

Recommending for fans of Marissa Meyer’s  and Colleen Oakes . If you enjoy a good retelling or fairy tale, this is one to add to your shelves.

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37 thoughts on “Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

    1. It is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty but certainly original as well. A solid reimagining that offers a unique take. Hard to sum up 🙂 But all of the key elements are present. I am not sure why it was not better received. I read through reviews and noted that some struggled with the writing or found the story to be choppy, but I did not experience this at all 🙂

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  1. Yay! I was wondering if you had the chance to get to this title 🙂 Lovely review, I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. I am one of those readers who gave it a 3 star rating. I did enjoy Hiller’s re-telling but I wasn’t a fan of the rushed romance with Aurora…now Isabelle’s POV, I really enjoyed. Still, looking forward to the conclusion my friend 🙂

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  2. Sounds good. I’m tempted to try it. I’ve read few fairy tale retellings I really like but my fav is Robin McKinley’s Spindle’s End, which is also a Sleeping Beauty retelling n features 2 girls. The slight similarity there makes me want to read this.

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  3. Ahhh, Danielle and her absolutely wonderful reviews. It’s always such a pleasure to read them and see you gush with love (or hate hihih) for books! 🙂 I’m glad to see how much you enjoyed this one! I saw the author react to your review via twitter too (in your story on the gram)! This does sound like a really good retelling/fairy tale though. Keep it up, Danielle! 😉

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  4. Wel, look who’s back on the blog. Welcome back, my dear. I missed your reviews so it’s good to see this one and it’s for a book that you enjoyed so much. I have been enjoying books told from dual perspectives too

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  5. Incredible review Danielle! ♥️ At first I thought I’ve read this book… but upon checking I don’t have it marked… hmmm… getting back to your review I realized that though some details were the same it was a completely different book! I personally love fae infused books… even bad ones are fun to read… and you make this one sound so, so good. The fact that this is centered on sisters and such handicaps is really attractive to me! Added! It was really intriguing you started with the rating on goodreads then went into what you liked about the story! Perfect…

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    1. Thank you Dani! There were so many elements in this story that worked for me. The author adds a completely unique take on Aurora’s experience with the sleeping curse. Adding the limitations with the sisters was refreshing as well. I hope you enjoy if you decide to pick this one up. The cover alone had me hooked from the start 😉

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  6. Awesome review! I like that there is no mention of some dashing handsome prince galloping to the rescue upon horseback here. It makes for a refreshing take on a traditional fairy tale. It sounds like an already well-known tale has been allowed to grow into something more, into something a lot richer and more in depth. I imagine it must have been fascinating to see the story from two vastly different perspectives and, not only that, but to see what Aurora endures while under the effect of the sleeping curse too.
    I’m really glad you enjoyed this! ❤

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    1. The addition of Aurora’s story while under the curse was such a hit with me. Technically this is her story, but the original does not offer what she endures. So I loved that element. There is an underlying love story forming but not allowing it to overshadow the sisters was wise on the author’s part. I hope you decide to pick this up. I really want to discuss it with some , as I struggled to agree with the more negative reviews 😉

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    1. I did read through the reviews and I noticed some clain the narration felt choppy, etc. I did not encounter these issues personally. I enjoyed her writing and it felt fluid. I really appreciated her ability to add to the affects of the sleeping curse because this is something I have not seen explored previously. This one is not a debut, but I have yet to explore her other work. Thanks La La 😉

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