Title: Spindle Fire
Series: Spindle Fire #1
Author: Lexa Hillyer
Publishing Date: April 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
A kingdom burns. A princess sleeps. This is no fairy tale.
It all started with the burning of the spindles.
It all started with a curse…
Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.
And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.
As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.
Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape…or the reason for her to stay.
If you’ve known me for quite a time then you probably know how excited I was for this book. That’s why when I was given a chance to have an early copy, I really couldn’t hide my happiness. I was so so excited for this one but when I started I was immediately mildly disappointed for some reasons. And sad to say, this one goes to my “most anticipated reads who let me down” list.
My reactions for Spindle Fire went from “Ooh what a poetic writing” to “This is so unbelievable and impossible” to “This is so weird” to “Wow, this is cool” to “Booriiing” to “What the heck?”
First and the main problem I had with this book was the writing. I find the writing at first very poetic which made me hope that this could be as beautiful as I hoped for it to be – especially with that tagline, who wouldn’t hope that high? To my disappointment, along the way I find the writing falter.
Princess Aurora has no sense of touch and is mute while her half sister Princess Isabelle mostly called as Isbe is blind. So it’s really hard for them to communicate. And they have this secret language where Aurora taps Isbe’s hands to say something because she can’t obviously say it out loud. And I was so confused how that worked for the both of them. Though it was said that “they have plenty of time” to learn that, I still can’t get how they can say different words and names by tapping the other’s palm. It’s so weird and ridiculous for me. Isbe’s abilities also was so impossible to believe. It was so ridiculous especially on the start since all I know was she is just a normal person.
The wind is helpful, anyway, to her sister. It carries information – sounds and smells that tell her who is coming and how high the tides are, what will be served for dinner, and which of the soldiers guarding the front gates have bedded which of the housemaids.
Aside from that I was welcomed by this book with some ridiculousness, the story was utterly confusing and it was like the storyline wasn’t constructed well. And even though I was already more than 100 pages in I still couldn’t get into the story. There were just so many things happening that didn’t make sense to me even though I was already far from the beginning.
What made me dislike this book even more was that it was filled with so many questions. There were questions after questions about the story and about the characters themselves from their present and their past which were the reason why I had a hard time connecting to the story. Aside from that it felt rush, only few questions were answered at the end – not even to mention that it was a cliffhanger – making the long journey or reading progress feels useless and senseless. And it made me not just unsatisfied but utterly unsatisfied right after.
Another thing I want to point out was its parting for five. This book has five parts with its titles I really loved but they were honestly irrelevant. I couldn’t see any reason why it was parted to five since there weren’t any remarkable events happened in each – maybe there were in some of them but that’s only because those were the first and the last parts anyway.
Though it took me quite a while, I eventually learned to love some elements in this book. I loved the variety of the characters from humans to faeries. I loved that instead of just focusing solely on the two main characters, others were given a spotlight as well. There were equal spotlights given both for the human characters and the faeries, hence, showing multiple point of views. I also liked that despite having the element of romance, it didn’t focused that much on it. It was focused on sibling relationships; the loving and the hating. And to top it all, most of the characters – especially the main ones, Aurora and Isabelle – aren’t just typical. Both princesses are different from the other.
I also loved how Hillyer did show us two completely different stories of two sisters. For me, this is what most readers will definitely like in this book. Hilyer chose to show us both a healthy and unhealthy sibling relationship. Princess Aurora and her half sister Isabelle having a very loving relationship where both are willing to do anything for the other, these two sisters who love each other unconditionally while Malfeur and Balcour, the most powerful faeries of them all who have a revengeful relationship full of jealousy and hate. Malfeur and Balcour’s story intrigued and excite me the most. I can’t wait to see where is their story going.
The world-building was actually good. Though everything became a mess when the thing about being trapped in a dream came into the scene. It was a whole completely another world and it was actually the most confusing part of the story.
There were other side stories as well that added a lot more impact to the whole story especially the faeries’ stories and the looming war between the most powerful faerie of all and humans. Also to add that thing where there were people trapped inside a dream, that idea was cool even though it was the most confusing part on the start because that was also the reason why this book gave me Alice In Wonderland (ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES!) feels.
Spindle Fire really could have been an epic fairytale if just given some improvements. This, sadly, didn’t lived up to my expectations – well, maybe closed to being almost. I still want to read the next installment just for the sake of curiosity to what will happen next and to see if there will be improvements. I hate to say this but I don’t think I will be recommending this one.
Lexa Hillyer is the Founder and President of Publishing at Glasstown Entertainment, a creative development and production company located in New York and Los Angeles. She is also the author of Spindle Fire, Winter Glass, and Proof of Forever, all young adult novels published by HarperCollins, as well as the poetry collection Acquainted with the Cold from Bona Fide Books. Acquainted with the Cold was the 2012 gold prize winner of the Foreword Book of the Year Award for Poetry and received the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize. Her work has been featured in a variety of journals and collections including Best New Poets 2012, and she has received several honors for poetry. Lexa earned her BA in English from Vassar College and her MFA in Poetry from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. She worked as an editor at both HarperCollins and Penguin, before founding Glasstown Entertainment along with New York Times Bestselling author Lauren Oliver. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter and their very skinny orange tree.
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*A huge thanks to HarperCollins International for providing me an ARC in exchange of an honest review. The copy by any means didn’t affect nor influence my review.