- File Size: 41421 KB
- Print Length: 64 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins (September 22, 2015)
- Publication Date: September 22, 2015
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00RLV2LCQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,685 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Sleeper and the Spindle Kindle Edition
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From School Library Journal
“Told in a way only Gaiman can” and featuring “stunning metallic artwork.” (GeekInsider)
“A refreshing, much-needed twist on a classic story.” (The Guardian)
“Spellbindingly illustrated.” (Gaby Wood, Saturday Telegraph)
“Magical, sumptuous, transporting.” (The Big Issue)
“Unforgettable, unpredictable and utterly enchanting for anyone between the ages of seven and seventy.” (Amanda Craig, The New Statesman)
“A genuine treat.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“A spectacular art object...certainly a treasure.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Riddell’s spectacularly intricate ink drawings, gilded with gold, bring Gaiman’s inventive story to life...This highly recommended visually stunning twist on two classic fairy tales will be well received by fans of graphic novels and fantasy stories.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“A wholly original reimagining...Riddell’s artwork is the reason a library should own this title in their collection. His details are exquisite.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)) --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
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There is a Queen who sets out on a quest to find out why parts of her land are disappearing. She sets out with a group of misfits, she is the strong woman who finds a way into the castle where not only the sleeping princess is, but an evil she must battle. Not a long story but found the view point of outside the castle while the princess slept interesting. It's a quick read and suitable for teens and adults.
Such a strange book. A strange start, a strange middle, a phenomenal (yet strange) end. The writing style is strange, the prose is unique, there are no names used at all. Strange is good; breaks us out of molds and all that. Basically, I loved every page of Sleeper!
So why only 4 stars? For the cost, this book is short. I finished this in about an hour and a half. For some, that's not worth the price of admission. If I hadn't received it for Christmas, I would have agreed. But hey, that's art!
For what it is, it's worth the read. It's also a lovely gift for a reader. I'm giving a copy to my boyfriend's mother for Christmas, for example. I wouldn't necessarily spend the money on it for myself (since it's very short), but it's so gorgeous that I would love to have a copy on my bookshelf.
3.5 out of 5 stars, but I rounded up because of the illustrations
Top international reviews
Now I'll admit the main reason I picked this up is that stunning cover, which the picture above does no real justice. Seriously if you find this book in your local bookstore just pick it up and try not to buy it. I dare you.
Gaiman's prose is lovely and peculiar, and accompanied by Riddell's illustrations the entire story comes to life; reading this was like going back to my childhood and reading the fairy tales I read then, each one beautifully illustrated with stunning princesses and ghastly crones. The plot itself I loved. I don't think it spoils anything if I say the main protagonist of this tale is Snow White, and it was great to see a Snow White who'd already defeated her stepmother, a Snow White who was already Queen and whose people were in need of her help.
Having said that, I guessed what was coming at the end which is the main reason I didn't give this story a full 5 stars. I was hoping to be completely surprised as so many other readers had mentioned the big twist at the end, but it wasn't quite twisty enough. I still thoroughly enjoyed the read, though.
If you're a lover of fairy tales then this is a must read for you, and even though the story is included in Gaiman's latest short story collection, Trigger Warning, I highly recommend getting your hands on this gorgeous illustrated edition. If you're looking for an LGBT* fairy tale, however, you will be disappointed. I've seen quite a few people describing this as an LGBT* retelling and it's really not, so if that's the main reason you want to check this story out I'm afraid it won't meet your expectations.
But as I said this is a beautiful story, and I'm so glad to have this beautiful book on my shelf.
The only real low point about this book is getting to the end of it. I read it on a journey to see my Dad the afternoon after it arrived and I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the illustrations. If you're a Neil Gaiman fan (which I am anyway) I think you'll love this story, but this isn't essential to enjoy the story. It's just a shame it's such a short one. However, I can't recommend it highly enough.
You can't tell from looking at the book in the illustration here, but the image of the girl on the front? It's on the book jacket itself and on the back there's a skull. The dust jacket itself is a little like thick tracing paper so it gives the images on the book itself a little of a dream-like quality, which is very fitting for this story. I found that you can make the picture on the back appear and disappear, depending on how close the dust-jacket is to it (but that soon gets a bit boring).
Neil Gaiman's The Sleeper and The Spindle, is a kind of mash-up hybrid of Snow White and The Seven Dwarves (except that austerity has obviously hit fairy-land too, as we are down to only 3) and The Sleeping Beauty - though there are sly little nods to several other fairy tales which creep in as well - it's a bit like `spot the fairy celebrity!' and I won't reveal them because it would spoil a reader's enjoyment and `aha'! moments
Part of the delight of an earlier Gaiman novel, The Graveyard Book (which I have in paper version) was Riddell's illustrations, so I was expecting good things with this one. Sometimes illustrations fare reasonably well in the ereader format, but this is not the case here, as Riddell's style is so full of fine details, which can't really be seen properly, as if you try to zoom in, to get detail, you then lose the whole. This story (it is a mere 72 pages long, with several pages of illustrations) though full of some lovely little twists and spooky strangenesses, not to mention redundancies of princes, who needs them! - is a moderately long short story, a mere mouthful of a read. It seems overpriced on eReader, purely because those lovely illustrations, black, white, gold, which you can see on the Look Inside, don't translate into the dedicated eRead format
The story on its own is probably a little slight; unillustrated, I'd probably have felt a little cheated and wished that Gaiman had published several different shortish fairy tale mash-ups in one volume.
1 star for eReader version : however, if I HAD got it in the proper format, 3 ½ so I have rounded up to 4
What I do know is this: don't go into any Gaiman book with expectations (I didn't in this case, but he still surprised me) because whatever they are, he WILL defy them.
A clever mashup of Sleeping Beauty and another fairytale I won't mention (spoilers, you see...), with excellent illustrations from Chris Riddell. A very, very good book.
A rather grim tale of a queen who calls off her wedding and travels to another kingdom to wake a princess from an enchanted sleep, which is spreading like a plague. This is a fairy tale retelling of a combination of sleeping beauty and snow white. I read this book cover to cover in less than a week and absolutely loved it. Neil Gaiman's stories are cleverly plotted with plenty of unexpected twists and there’s something about his writing style that’s very unique and enjoyable. Gaiman said in an interview that he doesn’t “have a lot of patience for stories in which women are rescued by men” and that really shows in this story. The main character is a strong female who knows her own mind and doesn’t let anything hold her back from her goals. Disney take notes, us girls don’t need men to rescue them from anything. This book is beautifully illustrated with detailed hand draw pictures that almost tell the story on their own.
I love the way the dust jacket adds to the cover underneath.
The story itself is just wonderful, it really takes you away to another world. Not quite as quirky as some of Neils stuff, but this is definitely a keeper. It is going up high on my shelf away from little hands.
Buy this book, read this book, then treasure it forever.
The two kingdoms are separated by an impassable mountain range except, that is, for the three dwarfs who know the dark paths beneath the mountains. One kingdom is ruled by a benevolent Queen, the other plagued by a magical sleep that, as expected, traces back to an annoyed witch who, many years ago wasn’t invited to a christening ceremony. In this version of the fairy tale the magical sleep is slowly extending outside the castle (it’s encircled, of course, by rose bushes sporting extremely dangerous thorns) and is progressively putting everyone to sleep.
The annoyed and extremely evil witch – now very old – is still in residence and highly protective of the sleeping Princess; the traditional spindle is now a bit dusty and the sleeping young lady can only be woken (of course) by a kiss.
Since there’s a reasonable chance that the magical sleep will extend to the Queen’s own kingdom she, and her dwarf companions, decide to sort things out, once and for all. The tunnels under the mountain help and, with a bit of lateral thinking, those nasty roses are easily disposed of.
We’re missing the handsome Prince and, when the Princess wakes, there’s a final twist (good versus evil, ruling the world, redemption and a slight change in plan) to the story.
It's different and quite clever – but the ending?
I love that the Queen is proactive, that she goes out to fight the problem. It’s great to see a fairytale character with some existing outside of the mechanism of the traditional plot. If there’s one thing that Gaiman never is, it’s conventional. The writing is as strange and lovely as ever and is definitely complemented by the images.
The illustrations in this slim volume are breath-taking and remind me why Riddell’s illustration in The Edge Chronicles had such a profound effect on me as a child. The colour scheme is incredibly effective; black and white with slight metallic hints of gold that seem to jump off the page. The pages of text are smoothly interspersed with integrated images and amazing double page spreads.
I know some people thought that this would be an LBQT fairytale (largely due to a beautifully illustrated panel of Ridell’s), but I don’t think it is really. Sexuality doesn’t really come into it. It’s more about learning to save yourself and making your choice about when you are ready for the adventure to end.
I suppose the only reason this isn’t quite 5 stars is that I had a niggling feeling about the twist, so it wasn’t too much of a shock and I wished the story was just a little longer.
I didn’t want to spoil it too much so just included a couple of the early pages to show off how amazing the book looks on the inside!
KIND OF SPOILER
I must say, I bought this book because I thought it was a lesbian retelling. The story surprised me and was delightfully fresh - though not in the way I’d been expecting!
The illustrations are very well done but thats the most positive thing I can say.
I would recommend this book for 9 or 10 year olds, because of the complex language and storyline, it is a challenge to read. It is quick and short though to read, so definitely a book to read before bedtime, or in the mornings, as it isn't scary, but can be scary, but not a lot.