I am such a sucker for fairy-tale retellings. I want my hands on all of them–every fairy tale and legend with every twist on it imaginable. Maybe it’s my lifelong love of royalty or my desire to live in a fantasy world or the fact I grew up on Disney. Whatever the case, I knew I had to read The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder, published by Razorbill.
Described as a genderbent sleeping beauty retelling with elements of Indiana Jones, The Bone Spindle switches between the two main characters perspectives. Fi, a brilliant treasure hunter recovering from a bad break up, and Shane, an ax-wielding lesbian who wants her hands on treasure, partner up for one job exploring an ancient ruin. That one job leads them to unexpected places when Fi pricks her finger on a bone spindle, marking her as the savior of Andar, who will wake the prince Briar Rose from his sleeping curse. Throughout the book, we also get glimpses from Briar’s perspective.
I was not disappointed with this tale. It had all the magical fantastical elements of a fairy-tale, all the adventurous yet historical elements of Indiana Jones, and we still had character depth, strong platonic friendships, compelling backstories, and other plot twists. Though, admittedly, most of the plot twists I could see coming.
One of the most compelling aspects of the book was the mysterious character known as Red, that Shane has a bit of a spark with. Red clearly takes on the role of Red Riding Hood, so I love how there are threads of other fairy-tales woven throughout this Sleeping Beauty retelling.
The worldbuilding is absolutley fantastic. There is a rich history in the world, and because Fi grew up in a historian family, we as readers get to hear a lot about it without it being forced. The fantastical world has various folktales and legends, that had probably warped through time, and were different across cultures. I think it takes so much creativity to come up with various tales and cultures and customs and Leslie Vedder did it very well. Plus, the magic system was intriguing with its own set of rules and limitations, making the whole fantasy element belivable.
The book did end on a rather sharp cliffhanger, making the readers clear that this is the beginning of a series. Unfortunately, that series does not continue until 2023, but you best believe I’ll be keeping my eye out for the next book–if only to read more Shane perspectives!
Overall, this book was a four star read–great worldbuilding, plot, and characters, but some chapters could be a bit dry and some twists predictable.
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