“She was one of those forest witches, driven to the margins a thousand years ago, and a bad lot. She cursed the babe at birth, such that when the girl was eighteen she would prick her finger and sleep forever.”
Neil Gaiman | The Sleeper and the Spindle
Who doesn’t know the fairy tale of a beautiful princess pricking her finger on a spindle and falling asleep for many years, sending the castle and its inhabitants into a deep slumber, too, until a handsome prince succeeds to wake her with true love’s kiss?
Well, Neil Gaiman picks up the golden thread of that dreamy old story and makes it into something new, glittering and wicked:
There’s a beautiful raven haired queen, preparing for her wedding day.
There are three dwarfs, begging her for help, because there’s a castle not far away, where a young princess lies asleep due to a cursed spindle that pricked her finger. Now the curse is spreading further and further, leaving a trail of people and animals fallen asleep all over the towns and fields, not being able to wake until the princess is freed from her curse.
“Wake her how?” asked the middle-sized dwarf, hand still clutching his rock, for he thought in essentials.
“The usual method,” said the pot-girl, and she blushed. “Or so the tales have it.”
“Right,” said the tallest dwarf. “So, bowl of cold water poured on the face and a cry of ‘Wakey! Wakey!’?”
“A kiss,” said the sot.
With this begins an adventure of three brave dwarfs and a fierce, bad ass queen trying to save the kingdom from that fearful sleeping curse, encountering all sorts of dangers along their way.
I can barely put into words how much I adore ‘The Sleeper and the Spindle’. Not just because of its new take on a beloved tale I used to reenact as a little girl, its witty language or heroic protagonists. Because before anything else, I fell in love with the design of the book itself, its cover and all these gorgeous illustrations by Chris Riddell that breathe life into this wonderfully written tale. Only using black and white illustrations with hints of gold, really underlines the story’s darker vibes. It is the perfect reading companion if you are longing for a fairy tale that fits into a cuddled-up evening full of reading, for something adventurous and magical and with a touch of those old tales you used to listen to before you had to go to sleep. This book truly is a beauty inside and out and a fantastic tale for grown-ups who love a well-made and thought-provoking retelling of a beloved tale.
Author: Neil Gaiman
Title: The Sleeper and the Spindle
Illustrated by Chris Riddell
Year of publication: 2013, 2014
[Genre: Fiction / Fantasy]
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