The Sleeper and the Spindle
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Publication Date: 2013
Lexile Level: 830
Faerie tale re-imaginings and retellings are a dime a dozen in YA fiction. They’ve exploded in popularity over the past several years, especially with the movie trends of Disney re-imagining their classic animated works into live action showings. And with Neil Gaiman’s expertise in mythology, it’s not surprising that he would have also be putting out work in the faerie realm.
The Sleeper and the Spindle is just…amazing. I think it has to be the BEST re-imagining I’ve ever read. I love it so much I’m not going to tell you anything about it. Seriously, go in blind. Every revelation is worth it. You can probably tell from the title that this is a take on Sleeping Beauty—but that’s not all. And I don’t want to tell you anything about the plot.
Don’t seek out detailed reviews. Don’t look for summaries. Just go in and make the discoveries for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
Adding to this amazing book are Chris Riddell’s illustrations. They aren’t crucial to the story, so visually challenged readers won’t need them to enjoy the tale. But man, are they awesome. Everything is black and white, with a few splashes of gold. Skulls are a recurring theme, and it all has a wonderful gothic feel. An excellent touch all around.
This is one of those stories that leaves you wanting more. More of the universe, the world that Gaiman has set up. You want to know where the characters have been, where they are going. There’s nothing lacking from the story itself, but the tastes he gives you are like having a bite of a rich dessert—you just want another.
Put this in the hands of any teen who has a taste for fantasy or faerie tales. It could also make a good book club selection, or suggested reading for writing groups. It’s not long, but it will be enjoyed.
And if by chance you should see this, Mr. Gaiman: PLEASE WRITE MORE FAERIE TALES!!!