Sunday, November 9, 2008

Layered with fairy dust

First of all, can I just say it's snowing here again? My word, it's only the second week in November and already it's snowed numerous times. Thank you lake effect snow.

One of my favorite Disney movies is Sleeping Beauty, which I'm shocked to learn was released in the 1950s. (I was completely positive it was released in the 1930s.) Anyway, Robin McKinley's Spindle's End takes the classic fairy tale and twists it up.

All the creatures on the front cover slightly creeped me out but they ended up being very appropriate for the story. Still, this book has earned the tag "creepy eyes."

The story follows the basic plot of Sleeping Beauty: a princess is cursed by an evil fairy--she will die by pricking her finger on a spindle. However, a good fairy (actually fairies) step in and raise the princess as their own, hiding her from the evil fairy and all prickly spindles.

McKinley really fleshes out the story, adding in characters and extra plot lines. There's also much detail about fairies, magic and talking with animals. This book is definitely a fantasy. I want to re-read the fairy tale itself to compare with this story--because we all know Disney makes very-happy-versions of fairy tales. (In the actual Little Mermaid story, Ariel turns into foam. No Prince Eric, etc. Just foam.)

One last note: Princess Briar Rose is blessed with all sorts of silly things--long, golden hair, a sweet singing voice, graceful feet, etc. I was prepared to hate this perfect girl, but McKinley doesn't make her beautiful or perfect! Instead, Rosie was an accessible character, one that was utterly ordinary. I thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed that.

This book was well-written and while targeted to a YA audience, it's absolutely great for adults, too. This was my first McKinley book; I think I'll be picking her up again.

Rating: 8/10


Lindsey said...

I remember reading this and loving it! I've read almost all of Robin McKinley's books and enjoy them so much. She's also written two Beauty and the Beast retellings, "Beauty", and ... oh dear, I can't remember the name of the second one but I think I liked "Beauty" best.

Happy reading!

Angiegirl said...

Your first McKinley? *gasp* That is so awesome. And there is just so much wonderfulness ahead.

"Just foam." Lol. Have you read BEASTLY by Alex Flinn? It's a great modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast and there's some mention of the real fairy tales behind the happified versions.

rachel said...

McKinley seems to have a really solid fan base!

Thanks for the tips on the books--I've always really liked Beauty and the Beast, too, so I'm going to check out your recommendations.