When I first heard that Neil Gaiman was coming out with a fairy tale book, I was thrilled. I am a huge fan of books that are based on classic stories and folklore, especially when the author is able to bring something new to the tale. I love books like Robin McKinley’s Beauty, Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose, and The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly and I couldn’t wait to read The Sleeper and the Spindle. Of course, this being a Neil Gaiman book, I expected something a little darker, grittier, and closer to the original Brothers Grimm tale than other fairy tale retellings but I love Neil Gaiman and couldn’t wait to see what direction he would take the story in.
The first thing I will say is that The Sleeper and the Spindle is much shorter than I expected. I had assumed that The Sleeper and the Spindle would be a full length novel, much like Stardust, (which I really enjoyed). Instead, The Sleeper and the Spindle, is the same size as a children’s picture book. However, the shorter format doesn’t stop Neil Gaiman from telling a sophisticated story, with a young queen taking the lead as the hero of the tale and an interesting twist to the ending. Neil Gaiman also brought in a sort of creepy horror movie element that really worked well the Sleeping Beauty story. Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the stunning black and white and gold illustrations by Chris Riddell, which worked hand in hand with Neil Gaiman’s master storytelling to create a unique fairy tale for readers, young and old.
If you love fairy tales as much as I do, check out my series of Fairy Tale Bangle Bracelets, inspired by classic fairy tale characters like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, the Evil Queen, and the Fairy Godmother.