A Spindle Splintered
A Spindle Splintered, Alix E. Harrow’s wonderful retelling of Sleeping Beauty, stands the fairytale’s premise on its head while managing to hit the right familiar notes to evoke emotions in its readers.
Zinnia Gray suffered through a rare industrial accident that has given her a fatal disease which will kill her before the age of twenty-two. Her friends, led by her best friend Charm, know the clock is running out for her and throw her a Sleeping Beauty-themed party on her twenty-first birthday.
But when Zinnia touches the spindle on the prop spinning wheel, she finds herself zapped into a new dimension. Given the opportunity to change the world for another Sleeping Beauty named Primrose – and thus change her own fate – after being dropped in a medieval-like kingdom, Zinnia finds herself dimension-hopping to help others. When all of these folks collide, what will happen?
My biggest criticism of A Spindle Splintered is that it is way too short – barely 128 pages long, and it’s bursting with ideas and worldbuilding and good prose. That it has to end so quickly is frustrating, and leaves the reader wondering what more might happen to Zinnia out there in the multiverse. I wouldn’t pay for it as a hardcover novel, but its spirit and spunk pleased me.
I liked Zinnia, and Primrose, one of the Beauties who gets the largest share of backstory in the novel. I could only sit back and yearn for a bit more, wishing the novel didn’t end where it ended, in the end. The way it handles its queer, feminist, disabled characters is a treat.
A Spindle Splintered is a quick read, but a good one.