Friday, April 14, 2017

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer
Release Date - April 11, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  368 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king's headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora's blood--and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.

Spindle Fire is the first book in a duology.
Fairytale retellings have always been one of my favourite kind of books to read. There is something magical about the familiar turned into something new. Spindle Fire is an imaginative take on the Sleeping Beauty tale that focuses on the bond between sisters rather than romance and twists the typical fairytale tropes.

Having read Lexa Hillyer's contemporary debut, I felt that the author felt more comfortable writing this style of novel. The story itself is imaginative and engaging. She has created two main characters who pull at the reader and ensure that you'll want to continue their story. The plot itself seems well planned and with a clear direction for the sequel. The issue, for me, comes with the setting. It didn't feel developed enough to transport me into the story. The enchanted world Aurora finds herself in is more developed and I found myself appreciating that part of the story more as a result.

There is a strong focus on sisterhood in this novel. The bond between Isabelle and Aurora is one, but there are also fae sisters that share the spotlight of this novel. The comparisons and differences between the pair of sisters are interesting to note, and  I hope they continue to be examined as the story progresses. It looks at all the complicated feelings that can exist between sisters, and the fierce loyalty that can drive them to do heroic things for each other. I really liked this aspect of the story and felt it was really the heart of the novel.

The twists to the typical fairytale tropes are not necessarily new, but done in a way that ensures the author makes it their own. I loved that our expectations are quickly tossed aside as each 'pivotal' moment from the Sleeping Beauty tale is acknowledged but also circumvented. I also enjoyed the twist to the prince, and the idea of true love's kiss and how they both played into the story. The romances that are part of this are also not what you would expect and it sets up an interesting dynamic for the finale of this story. These little changes to the story made it feel fresh and added a little magic to this retelling that was greatly needed.

The 'enchanted' realm that Aurora find herself in was one of my favourite parts of this story. It is such a unique take on the slumber that happens once Aurora pricks her finger on that spinning wheel. It creates this world where expectations can be defied, and fae magic can be used a little more freely. I wanted more from this world, and felt it could have been used to a greater impact. This is what makes this particularly story unique and I wish that had been played upon a little more.

My only other issue was that there was plenty of telling and not showing within these pages. I wanted more information given by showing us through the characters, instead we were told. It felt like we were told how the characters were feeling instead of being shown and that instantly disconnected me from them and the story. Everything else is there, but without that deeper connection to the story to push it from good to great, the story just ended up being something I enjoyed instead of something feel in love with.

This ended up being mixed read for me with there being things I really enjoyed, and other things that I wish had been done just a little differently. I am definitely going to check out the next novel to see how this story ends, but the hook to make me desperate to read just wasn't there. I predict many others will love this novel more than I did, but I felt a little bit of that fairytale magic was missing.

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