Review: Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley


My fairy tale kick continued with a book I’ve heard of and finally got pushed to read by a recommendation. This book is a sleeping beauty spin-off with a very interesting twist. Unfortunately, not interesting enough. Spindle’s End has by far been the worst novel I’ve read in ages!

Maybe my expectations were too high. All fractured fairy tales are fabulous, I thought, what could go wrong with a classic story? As it turns out, a lot of things could go wrong. For instance, the character development was weak, the sentence structure was confusing, and the scenes were hard to follow. Also, the author wrote in an odd manner. McKinley used parentheses to show a back story or explain something further on almost every page. It only succeeded in either confusing me because the material inside the parentheses was too long, or it bored me half to death.

The characters were dull and one-sided. They all had a set personality that was rigorously kept throughout the book. On the other hand, a couple of the characters changed so completely that they couldn’t have even been the same person! I didn’t feel close to any of the people present nor did I like any of them in particular. There were also a multitude of animals, and they were extremely difficult to keep up with. All of them had strange names, and there were so many! I couldn’t remember if Sunflower was a dog or mouse, or if Fwab was a bird or bear. The way the novel was written didn’t help, either.

The sentence structure confused me greatly during the book. I would read a passage over and over and still not have the slightest idea on what it was saying. Not to mention that some of the scenes didn’t make any sense to me. The whole ending battle was completely over my head, which was really disappointing. I practically missed the whole climax! As a result of the many descriptive back stories or extra tidbits in parentheses, the story seemed all over the place. If you can tell, I was one big confused mess reading this!

On the bright side, the plot really was genius. It was so unlike any other sleeping beauty tale. (**SPOILERS APPROACHING**) The fact that the “princess” was actually two different people seemed strange, but it worked. Rosie (the real princess) didn’t want her position as princess, so her and her friend, Peony, came up with a way to glamour the whole country into believing Peony was the real princess. This was also a ploy to keep Rosie safe from the dreaded spinning wheel, in hopes that the glamour also affect Pernicia, the villain. Like I said, the battle was a complete haze for me, so I couldn’t even begin to explain what happened there.

Alas, no matter how good the plot seemed, there were some holes. For instance, Rosie, Peony, and their friends kept the glamour up so that Peony became princess. This meant that the queen and king lost their daughter and were tricked into thinking this other girl was their own. To me, that seemed a bit cruel with their loved one so close. In addition to that, Rosie fell in love with a man that she had known since she was a toddler. He was a working man when she was a toddler, and he already had a reputation as a blacksmith. Which meant that he had to be over 18 to hold a real job. In order to earn a place in the gossip of the town, he must of been quite a bit older than that. I guess love doesn’t adhere to ages, but the whole situation was peculiar.

I really do despise saying this about books, but it was terrible. I almost stopped multiple times in the 422 pages, but I pushed through since I hated leaving it incomplete more than the book itself. I had to motivate myself by reading a chapter, then getting a break. Or reading five pages then spending a minute looking through Twitter. Either way, it was challenging.

1/5 stars 😦



4 thoughts on “Review: Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

  1. Pingback: Top Ten books I almost put down but didn’t | Stealing Pages

  2. Hi! I really love some of Robin McKinley’s books but I didn’t rate this one either! It was pretty awful. Her beauty and the beast retelling, Beauty was much better, I thought! It’s hard writing bad reviews, but I enjoyed reading yours 🙂

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