Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Genre: Young Adult / Retelling
Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, Spindle Fire is an enthralling, wholly original reimagining of a classic faerie story.
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 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.
While Isabelle crosses land and sea, the kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow and whispers of revolt. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted realm, where a mysterious hunter may hold the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.
Spindle Fire is a tour de force fantasy set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines, from a writer destined to be a major voice in YA.
Spindle Fire is the first installment in author Lexa Hillyer's Spindle Fire duology. Fairy-tale retellings are extremely hot in the YA market, and this is the tale of Sleeping Beauty like you’ve never seen it before. It has elements of Alice in Wonderland thrown in. Lexa has taken these familiar stories and twisted them into something completely new and different. This is a story about two very different sisters; Crown Princess Aurora and her half sister Isabelle who are nearly inseparable. Spindle Fire is told in alternating views between these two characters.
Aurora is the legitimate daughter of the last King and Queen who lost her ability to speak, and her ability to feel was tithed away when she was a baby. She also had a curse placed on her by the last faerie Queen Malfleur. Aurora is presented as the beautiful, delicate, gentle, romantic. Isabelle is the illegitimate daughter of the King who lost her sight, tithed away, when she was 2 years old thanks to the machinations Malfleur, who I likened to Maleficent. Isabelle is strong willed, adventurous, headstrong, and outspoken at times which gets her into trouble.
Since their fathers death several years before, Aurora has been kept under lock and key by the council, while Isabelle is free to roam. The sisters even have their own secretive language using their hands. Then a strange twist of fate happens. Aurora's would be suitors, two princesses from Aubian, are murdered thus stopping a would be alliance between Aubian and Deluce. While Aurora is being bartered away to yet another suitor, a third prince from Aubian, Isabelle is told that she will be sent to a convent for the rest of her life.
Soon, both sisters find a way to flee the only home they've known. Aurora, trying to find Isabelle, ends up on the wrong end of things when she pricks her finger on a Spindle and a sleeping sickness spreads quickly. The only thing that can save her? You betcha! A kiss from her true love. Only Aurora isn't dead or dying. She ends up in a place where she has the ability to not only speak, but to also feel for the first time in her life.
Meanwhile, Isabelle must make a treacherous journey to Aubian. Alongside her best friend Gil, she hopes to find a way to bring Prince William Aubian and trust that he will be able to wake Aurora's with a kiss, thus saving the country from a rapidly spreading sleeping disease, and a Queen who is rapidly rising an unstoppable army to claim Deluce. In my case, I had to suspend reality a bit when it came to Isbe, as the author likes to call her. She has remarkable intuition and the ability to get herself out of trouble time and time again. She does more things than someone with sight.
I definitely don't want to go any further for fear of spoiling things that happen along the way to both characters. I loved the world building. I loved the idea of tithe where it is sort of a give and take idea. But, you can't just take something from anyone without them agreeing to the terms. I loved both sisters equally but really found Aurora's growth as a character to be more interesting. In the dream land, she finally gets a chance to speak, to feel, and to find possible love with a strange boy from a strange land. There are some surprising twists and surprising, and some not so much that you could see coming.
Since I have already read the sequel, I don't have to say that I would definitely recommend this series.