A spindle splintered

Alix E. Harrow

Book - 2021

"USA Today bestselling author Alix E. Harrow's A Spindle Splintered brings her patented charm to a new version of a classic story. Featuring Arthur Rackham's original illustrations for The Sleeping Beauty, fractured and reimagined. "A vivid, subversive and feminist reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, where implacable destiny is no match for courage, sisterhood, stubbornness and a good working knowledge of fairy tales." -Katherine Arden. It's Zinnia Gray's twenty-fi...rst birthday, which is extra-special because it's the last birthday she'll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no-one has lived past twenty-one. Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia's last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate"--

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SCIENCE FICTION/Harrow Alix
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Series
Harrow, Alix E. Fractured fables ; 1.
Subjects
Genres
Fantasy fiction
Adaptations
Published
New York : Tom Doherty Associates 2021.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
119 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781250765352
1250765358
Main Author
Alix E. Harrow (author)
Other Authors
Arthur Rackham, 1867-1939 (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Best-selling author Harrow revives and rejuvenates the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale with a feminist twist in her latest (after The Once and Future Witches, 2020). Zinnia Gray has always had an affinity for Sleeping Beauty. Maybe it was the blond hair and blue eyes, but it was mostly that Sleeping Beauty was cursed and yet refused to die. Zinnia is also cursed to die, but not by a fairy; an incurable disease is the villain of her story. Now turning 21, Zinnia is staring down the tunnel at death, as none with her disease have made it past age 22. At her birthday party, Zinnia pricks her finger on a spindle and is transported to a familiar-sounding fairy-tale land with a familiar-sounding princess. Princess Primrose has also been cursed to prick her finger and fall into a deep sleep, but, with Zinnia's help, together they will both rewrite the narratives society gave them. Harrow uses her excellent skill as a storyteller to give agency back to the passive princess. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

A feminist revision of Sleeping Beauty by Hugo Award winner Harrow (The Once and Future Witches). It opens on Zinnia Gray celebrating her 21st birthday at the top of a ruined tower. She has a terminal illness and doesn't expect to see 22—nor does she expect to prick her finger at the stroke of midnight and find herself swirling through the multiverse of Sleeping Beauties. Zinnia can't save herself from her illness, but she can save Princess Primrose from the curse of an evil fairy and her destiny as a wax doll in a pretty casket. The quest to save Primrose leads to a fairy who is not a fairy, a curse that is not a curse, and a chance for Zinnia and Primrose to save each other in a way that the Brothers Grimm never imagined. VERDICT Sleeping Beauty crashes into the multiverse in Harrow's queer, subversive, explicitly feminist retelling. This story of power, agency, and sisterhood is recommended.—Marlene Harris, Reading Reality, LLC, Duluth, GA Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

A feminist revision of Sleeping Beauty by Hugo Award winner Harrow (The Once and Future Witches). It opens on Zinnia Gray celebrating her 21st birthday at the top of a ruined tower. She has a terminal illness and doesn't expect to see 22—nor does she expect to prick her finger at the stroke of midnight and find herself swirling through the multiverse of Sleeping Beauties. Zinnia can't save herself from her illness, but she can save Princess Primrose from the curse of an evil fairy and her destiny as a wax doll in a pretty casket. The quest to save Primrose leads to a fairy who is not a fairy, a curse that is not a curse, and a chance for Zinnia and Primrose to save each other in a way that the Brothers Grimm never imagined. VERDICT Sleeping Beauty crashes into the multiverse in Harrow's queer, subversive, explicitly feminist retelling. This story of power, agency, and sisterhood is recommended.—Marlene Harris, Reading Reality, LLC, Duluth, GA Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Part portal fantasy, part dissertation on Sleeping Beauty adaptations, this overly complicated novella from Harrow (The Once and Future Witches) offers a layered look at how fairy tales serve as mirrors to society. Sleeping Beauty–obsessed Zinnia Gray is dying of Generalized Roseville Malady. She celebrates her last expected birthday by jokingly pricking her finger on a spindle at a fairy tale–themed party thrown by her best friend, Charm Baldwin—and immediately falls through the multiverse into a Disneyesque, "knock-off fairy tale" world. There, she must help Princess Primrose escape the unhappily ever after that's in store for her, with the help of Charm and a motley assortment of other Sleeping Beauties from alternate versions of the tale. Though intended to be tongue-in-cheek, Primrose's high fantasy dialogue is cringeworthy at points ("From whence have you come?"), and Harrow devotes more pages to pop culture references—with nods to both classic literature and contemporary memes—than to secondary character development, leaving some of the alternate Sleeping Beauties little more than flat caricatures. Though Harrow's ambition isn't realized, the concept is delightful and the queer romance that arises between Charm and Primrose is, well, charming. This deeply researched fairy tale version of Into the Spiderverse is sure to please Harrow's fans. (Oct.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Teen readers will absolutely love this fantastical, feminist, reimagined version of "Sleeping Beauty" starring Zinnia, a white young adult, newly 21, and living on borrowed time. Zinnia has a (fictional) rare genetic disorder that cuts her life short. On her birthday she pricks her finger and is transported into one of the "Sleeping Beauty" fairy tales. But this Sleeping Beauty, Primrose, is no helpless princess. Quickly, Zinnia bonds with Prim and the two set out to break their own curses. Through the help of a not-so-evil witch and countless Sleeping Beauties from different fairy-tale multiverses, Zinnia learns what it means to save herself and others. Harrow creates a lush and magical world with well-developed characters who are easy to love and root for. Employing the popular technique of multiverses, Harrow is able to give readers a diverse cast of Sleeping Beauties that are anything but passive. Although Zinnia is bisexual, her sexuality is not the focus of the story. Zinnia's best friend, Charm, is a lesbian who begins a romantic relationship with bisexual princess Primrose. VERDICT For fans of Laini Taylor, Leigh Bardugo, and Neil Gaiman's The Sleeper and the Spindle.—Melanie Leivers, Burnsville, MN Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Left with a rare condition caused by an industrial accident, Zinnia Gray celebrates her 21st, and possibly last, birthday and pricks her finger on a spinning wheel at a party, in a modern retelling of Sleeping Beauty. 75,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"USA Today bestselling author Alix E. Harrow's A Spindle Splintered brings her patented charm to a new version of a classic story. Featuring Arthur Rackham's original illustrations for The Sleeping Beauty, fractured and reimagined. "A vivid, subversive and feminist reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, where implacable destiny is no match for courage, sisterhood, stubbornness and a good working knowledge of fairy tales." -Katherine Arden. It's Zinnia Gray's twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special becauseit's the last birthday she'll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no-one has lived past twenty-one. Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia's last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty,just as desperate to escape her fate"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

USA Today bestselling author Alix E. Harrow's A Spindle Splintered brings her patented charm to a new version of a classic story. Featuring Arthur Rackham's original illustrations for The Sleeping Beauty, fractured and reimagined.“A vivid, subversive and feminist reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, where implacable destiny is no match for courage, sisterhood, stubbornness and a good working knowledge of fairy tales.” —Katherine ArdenIt's Zinnia Gray's twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it's the last birthday she'll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no-one has lived past twenty-one.Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia's last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.