Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman (Illustrated by Chris Riddell)


Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Release date: October 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 1408859645
Pages: 72
Goodreads || Book Depository

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.


45 stars

This was a delightful and enchanting story, accompanied by beautiful illustrations. It was a wonderful retelling of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, with a brilliant twist. I’d highly recommend this to anyone who can read and I think children in particular would really love this book. I thought the illustrations really brought the story to life and added a lot to the creepy and dark atmosphere of it. And the cover is just spectacular. It’s also a lot prettier in person because the picture of Sleeping Beauty is printed on the naked hardcover and the jacket is made of vellum so that the illustration shows through.

I love how The Sleeper and the Spindle challenges the gender stereotypes that we have. We have Snow White (except she’s only known as ‘The Queen’ in the book) who is about to be married to her prince but thinks it’s the beginning of the end of her life. She decides instead to go off and be a warrior and a hero, highlighting that women aren’t weak and we don’t need a prince or a man to save us. Or to kiss us.

I wouldn’t really consider this to be an LGBT retelling. There’s really no romance at all in the book. I know a lot of people were disappointed that it wasn’t a proper LGBT book but I’m thoroughly satisfied with everything we got. It had an epic plot and some very likeable main characters. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

This was my very first Neil Gaiman book but I definitely need to pick up more titles by him. His writing was so beautiful! Let me know your Neil Gaiman recommendations! I’d also love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read this book. Try to keep your comments spoiler free though!

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6 thoughts on “Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman (Illustrated by Chris Riddell)

  1. aentee @ read at midnight says:

    You are the second person I’ve seen today to read your first Gaiman book! This one looks so good, I need it!!

    ALSO more Gaiman recs: American Gods which is becoming a TV show, Coraline or Stardust or The Graveyard Book or The Ocean At The End Of The Lane for fairy tale/classic storybook type tales. his short story collections are excellent. BUT my favourite Gaiman work is actually his graphic novel: Sandman!

    Liked by 1 person

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