A very enjoyable view of Sleeping Beauty. Robin McKinley writes another wonderful book.
I was actually disappointed in this book of McKinley's. All of her books have been fun of great adventure and much fantasy and while this book had all the usual content it was very, very hard to get into and moved really slow. I really liked her beauty and the beast adaptation MUCH better. I would not recommend this novel, not when her other books are so outstanding! I guess since her books are usually so wonderful this one fell flat, I didn't end up finishing it.
This is one of McKinley's strongest works to date, and it makes me laugh to think that she essentially wrote it on a dare. From what she's said on her website, she had no love for the sleeping beauty myth -- after all, the princess spends it completely useless and out of the action, exactly opposite McKinley's usual heroines. The story she crafted in response to the fairy tale beautifully recasts the outside of the tale (the curse, the fairy godmothers, the spelled sleep, and rose hedge) with a new interior, upending the usual story into one in which the princess is a real person that the reader cares deeply for -- and a person who is instrumental in her own salvation, rather than a bystander to it.
But beyond the female empowerment coming-of-age tale are the glimpses of depth all of McKinley's best stories have: explorations of what family means, and the necessity of acting with courage and compassion even when it may leave you vulnerable to dark forces. The moments I loved best about this novel are when McKinley shows us that even the best ending, the one that leaves everyone happiest, may still have unexpected sharp edges, little bits of pain that come with gaining a great victory at the cost of something you didn't necessarily value in the first place. The unexpected resolution to the story (even more unexpected because it continues to remain true to the outside form of the sleeping beauty fairy tale) is brilliant and winning and just the tiniest bit bittersweet.
Even laying aside how wonderful the novel ends, it is a joy from start to finish. It has more humor than any other McKinley work, and the Gig (and Woodwold within it) is certainly one of McKinley's most delightful worlds. For those who have read her obsessively (as I have) there are even hints that this is Damar, the world of The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword, many generations later, and it is implied that the princess' mother comes from the kingdom that Lissar settled in in Deerskin. On rereading, I am even further convinced that this is one of my favorite novels of all time.
I love Spindle's End. While some might find it hard to get into (the first chapter is mostly just description), I was enchanted by it. McKinley slowly draws the reader into the story, and then adds layer after layer to make this world and these characters very real and very life-like. It's a lavish and beautifully told story...and an old one--the story of Sleeping Beauty--but McKinley puts a twist on it that makes it uniquely hers.
All the creatures of the forest and field and riverbank knew the infant was special. She was the princess, spirited away from the evil fairy Pernicia on her name-day. But the curse was cast: Rosie was fated to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a poisoned sleep--a slumber from which no one would be able to rouse her...
This is an imaginative retelling of the story of Sleeping Beauty by the author of THE BLUE SWORD, THE HERO AND THE CROWN,THE OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD, THE DOOR IN THE HEDGE, and DEERSKIN. It has a few unique twists, and I give it 5 stars!
While I did not enjoy this one as much as McKinley's Deerskin, it was very clever and a nice spin on the traditional story.
McKinley just does a masterful job of fleshing out a fairy tale and making it a believable, if fantasy, story. I love her work! This is, of course, Sleeping Beauty.
This novel, a retelling of the fairy tale, "Sleeping Beauty," was imaginative but rambling. The story line did not flow well because of the many asides and background information McKinley inserts. I felt it needed a large amount of editing to tighten it up. The characters were well developed, however. But overall, I found myself becoming tired of the rambling background inserts and had to skim over much of it in the last third of the book. A better fairy tale retelling by McKinley is "Beauty".
Wow - talk about a slow read! This re-telling of Sleeping Beauty was not very good at all. Maybe it was because I had such high hopes for it... There was some originality in the story-telling, but overall... the style was what brought it down. No action at all... the voice was so passive.... all telling... made it very slow-going and boring!
This was my least favorite book of all of McKinley's writings! While I love the new twist on the original Sleeping Beauty, it was a slow and often confusing read for me. I found the first half of the book slow and the second half confusing! I finished the whole book because I have much loved McKinely's other books, but I would not recommend this one. McKinley is a very talented writer and I encourage you to read her other books!
Robin McKinley does a wonderful job portraying the Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose fairy tale in a fresh light. By delving into the people's attempt to thwart the evil fairy Pernicia, she expands the story so that when I got to the inevitable confrontation, I was rooting for Rosie and her friends, both human and animal.
Although I usually love Robin McKinley, this one felt a little flat to me in places. But then again, I was comparing it to McKinley's other books. Compared to other authors/books, this one measures up and is a really great story.
A bit hard to get into, especially the first chapter, but a very good fantasy book with a spin on the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty.
Sleeping Beauty in a poignant novel
very good book - an interesting and surprising twist on a familiar fairy tale!
This was a great story about good and evil.
Over all a good book, but a little hard to get into at first.
There are SPOILERS here. You have been warned. DO NOT READ if you don't want to know.
The first half of this book might move at a slow pace, but its rich descriptions make up for it. I very much enjoyed the journey of Kat and little Rosie back to the village, and the story of Rosie growing up. McKinley's descriptions of magic causing dust to pile up were lovely.
I also enjoyed that Rosie essentially rescues herself, and the method of fooling the witch. I loved Rosie's conversations with the animals. McKinley must know horses, those were really poignant.
However (SPOILERS START HERE) it seemed cruel to me to fool the queen into thinking Peony is her real daughter. Yes, yes, everyone's happy...but it's still a lie. Looked at from one POV, you're also lying to the populace who (presumably) believe that these royals have a right to rule them by bloodline. Of course if you're not a monarchist, you're laughing.
And Rosie marrying Narl...eew! He's at least 20 years older than she is, and he knew her as a baby and the entire time she grew up. It would be like marrying your own daughter, or a sister, wouldn't it? I can't get my head around that one, it really seems wrong.
So...beautifully told until the very end, which I didn't like at all.