Gay and Fairytales! What not to like!?
I love fairy-tale stories and retellings! Alix E. Harrow is an author I’ve been recommended a trillion times, so I decided to start off small and dive into her novella series. One thing I can say about this book and the upcoming sequel is God bless Alix Harrow for coughing up the money for these incredible covers. They immediately caught my eye and I checked them out because of how beautiful and interesting they looked.
Aside from the beautiful art, A Spindle Splintered follows Zinna, a 21-year-old woman who is terminally ill. She’s cynical and jaded due to her health condition, an affliction she cannot stop or do anything about, and knows she only has weeks left to live. We also meet Charm, her best friend, who is the more interesting character in the story for my money. On Zinna’s 21st birthday, Charm throws her a little party with a Sleeping Beauty theme, as Zinna has always felt a kinship with the character. Both are women who are cursed and unable to change their futures and must succumb to their fate, so she can relate to her struggles. At the party, Zinnia pricks her finger on a spindle and is transported to a fairy tale world where she meets a princess who is also trapped by fate. Zinnia, Princess Primrose, and Charm must work together between the realms to fight for their freedom in more ways than one.
This was a pretty enjoyable read. I think what I’ve come to learn about myself recently is that as someone who enjoys very character-driven works, novellas aren’t really the thing for me. I struggle with caring about the characters when we are just thrust into the world, so this one didn’t grab me as much as I’d like it to. Zinnia, for me, is a hard character to love. She doesn’t deserve what’s happening to her, but also her general cynicism and rudeness toward everyone around her made her a bit insufferable for me. Charm was super interesting, especially when we’re giving a little info about her past, and I wish we could have gotten a longer novel with dual perspectives. The ending felt a bit out of nowhere and rushed to me, but I can overlook that as a suspend your disbelief style trope of the genre. There were a lot of random pop culture references in this which I did like in spattering’s but it began to feel weird when 90% of the book is in a fantasy world unlike our own. The vibe just felt weird. Overall, not a bad read but I’m more excited to read her longer-form work.
Title: A Spindle Splintered
Author: Alix E. Harrow
Three Descriptors: Snarky, Dark, Fairy-Tale retelling
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