Title: Rose and Spindle
Author: Hayden Thorne
Cover artist: n/a
Publisher: Queerteen press
Amazon Buy Link:Rose and Spindle
Genre: fairy tale/YA romance
Length: 286 pages/75211 words
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius.
Summary: Wonderful retelling of Sleeping Beauty
Boy meets boy. Boy hates boy. Each swears never to have anything to do with the other, forever after.
Unfortunately for Prince Hamlin and Prince Edouard, history has a bad habit of repeating itself, and worse, each time the two boys run across each other, things get a touch muddier as well. Destiny and free will go head-to-head, the princes’ dilemma echoing the more baffling curse that’s been placed on Edouard’s young cousin, Princess Roderika. Doomed to prick her finger on a spindle on her fifteenth birthday and fall asleep for a hundred years as a result, Roderika’s rapidly dwindling time becomes an inescapable tapestry into which Hamlin and Edouard’s own fates are woven.
With the help of a magician princess and a crotchety talking raven, Hamlin and Edouard not only have to outgrow prejudices, but also find the courage and the will to define their destinies, even if it were to take them a hundred years.
Please note that you have to enjoy the retellings of fairy tales in order to like this book, because in essence this is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty. It is one of the best ones I have ever read in my opinion and it is actually one of the very few retellings that I have read that created something quite fresh while playing with the themes we all had known from the childhood. The author is looking at all the characters and gives them more depth than a lot of fairy tales do (original or retold). I mean, let’s face it, in a lot of fairy tales IMO the characters are not fleshed out, they are just there to fulfill their Quests or whatever else they are supposed to do. I often wondered why in so many remakes the writers are missing the opportunity to flesh out the characters and often just blindly follow the familiar road map the original fairy tale offers.
Of course it helps that in this story neither of the main characters is a stand in for the Sleeping Beauty; they could have probably been supporting characters in the original tale, but the writer gives them interesting personalities and their own lives. At the same time the book really does not shy away from the original story. The similar story does take place in this book, and in a sense it affects all the characters and we see it from the interesting angle as well. I actually did wonder why nobody in the original Sleeping Beauty even tried to reverse the curse. I was very amused that the characters here do ask themselves that question. I liked how the characters struggle with the ideas of submitting to Fate or fighting the Fate, it was interesting and quite original.
I also really enjoyed several female characters in the story – I just thought it was awesome that they were being supporting characters and were pretty well fleshed out and all different, some good, some bad and one felt like not good and not bad :)
I have to admit though (and I cannot believe that I am saying it), but I thought that the romantic connection between the guys was too understated. I mean, what was there was sweet and genuine, but I just wanted more. I get that this is a YA book and a fairy tale and really I do not miss the explicit sex here. But I needed more scenes like the couple of the ones we get in the 80s locations of the story on my Kindle. I guess (and I cannot believe I am saying it again since I adore the guys bickering and then realising that they do not want to bicker any longer in any variations ) in this story they fought for too long and switched to loving each other too close to the end of the story and it felt a touch too sudden. I get that starting at least from the middle of the road the reason they fought is because they were unwilling to admit their affection for each other, but I wanted more kindness and affection than what I got I guess. Despite that caveat I still liked both boys and liked what I got. I guess it just increased my dissatisfaction with the ending – which is happy, do not worry, it just increased my unhappiness about wanting to see more of their relationship.
Recommended for fairy tale lovers :)